Saskatoon

Family forced out of Northwoods finds new home

The nightmare is nearly over for a family forced to leave Saskatoon's troubled Northwoods Inn and Suites. They say they have found a house to move into after some helpful people contacted them.

Family happy to leave nightmarish experiences behind

Marie-Eve Smith and her family are relieved their months of hotel living are nearly over. (Kathy Fitzpatrick/CBC)

The nightmare is nearly over for a family forced to leave Saskatoon's troubled Northwoods Inn and Suites. They say they have found a house to move into after some helpful people contacted them.

"It's just a huge weight taken off of our shoulders and we can sleep now," Marie-Eve Smith said. 

It has been a marathon of hotel living for Smith, her husband and their youngest six children, ages 4 to 17.

Tuesday afternoon the family moved into two rooms at a hotel near the airport, after being forced out of the Northwoods by the owner earlier this week as safety investigations continue there.

Vermin and crime

They moved into the Northwoods last December when the place they were living was put up for sale, and other accommodations were hard to find.

But they say it was a horrible experience.

"There was always a problem with the plumbing. We had mice infestation. At one time we had bedbugs. Cockroaches.  And they never fumigated any of the rooms," Smith said.

The family lived in a small one-bedroom suite, with a tiny kitchen, two beds and a broken pull-out couch.

The parents made sure the children did not sleep on the floor, so that mice would not run over them.

My kids have seen things they should never have to see- Marie-Eve Smith, former Northwoods Inn tenant

But insect and animal pests weren't their only worries. Smith said the Northwoods was also riddled with crime and violence.

"My kids have seen things they should never have to see."

They say drug needles and broken glass littered the parking lot. Disturbances were routine, both day and night. Bricks and pipes were thrown through windows. They heard fights and screaming. 

At the sound of gunfire, Smith and her husband would pull the kids off the beds to the floor.

Smith said her four-year-old once walked into the drift of pepper spray, released during a fight between two women. 

Calling 9-1-1 was rarely an option, Smith said, because the phone in their room rarely worked.

The family hopes to leave all that behind them as they prepare to move into their new home on Monday.

Clarifications

  • A previous version of this story stated that the family had been forced out of the Northwoods Inn by both the owner and public health. However, Saskatoon Public Health says it has not placarded any occupied suites.
    May 31, 2015 1:33 PM CT

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