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Spence Court bedbug infestation frustrates tenants

Some residents of a Thunder Bay social housing complex are upset with their landlords' response to a bedbug infestation.

Tenants' association to meet with Thunder Bay District Social Services Board Tuesday afternoon

James Yanke holds up a photo of bedbugs he says were in an apartment at Spence Court in Thunder Bay. Yanke has been collecting documents and photos of the infestation since it began in 2009. (Adam Burns/CBC)

Some residents of a Thunder Bay social housing complex are upset with their landlords' response to a bedbug infestation.

People who live at Spence Court on Amelia Street say the Thunder Bay District Social Services Board hasn't done enough to eradicate the bugs.

The head of the tenants’ association said the problem is causing alienation among neighbours in the building.

"How are you gonna have any kind of a social [interaction] with anybody in the building, when they're afraid to talk to somebody because they're afraid they're gonna get bugs again? You can't have any kind of social life here,” James Yanke said.

"It's continuous. You think you got rid of 'em, and next thing you know got 'em again."

The social services board said it's doing everything it can to eliminate the bugs.

"I think part of the issue now is trying to get a contractor who's available to do the work,” said Bill Bradica, the board's chief administrative officer.

He noted the number of infestations across the city makes it difficult to get a contractor in a timely fashion; however the board has found two contractors to inspect the building.

Meanwhile, a meeting between tenants and the social services board has been scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

About half of the roughly 200 people living at Spence Court are seniors.

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