Saskatoon Fire Department to order closure of City Centre Inn and Suites
Fire chief says hotel has 'lengthy history with department'
A hotel in Saskatoon's north downtown is being ordered to close down all or a portion of its business.
On Wednesday, the Saskatoon Fire Department said the City Centre Inn and Suites, formerly known as the Northwoods Inn and Suites, was being served with a notice to close because of unsafe and unsanitary living conditions.
"The law gives property owners and landlords many chances to do what's right to ensure people have safe, healthy places to live." said Saskatoon Fire Chief Morgan Hackl.
"However, this property has had a lengthy history with our department. Following repeated inspections, orders to remedy issues, and tickets, the conditions have degraded to such a deplorable state the Fire Department can no longer allow people to live there."
Hackl said the department's most recent visit, which happened due to an anonymous report three weeks ago, unveiled many code breaches including stairs at the risk of collapse, locked exit doors and failure to maintain fire alarm systems.
The department said the owner has been ordered to remedy 34 deficiencies under the Property Maintenance and Nuisance Abatement Bylaw and 27 deficiencies under the National Fire Code of Canada.
About 150 people living in the hotel have been evacuated by the Ministries of Health and Social Services, as well as the Saskatoon Tribal Council, among other agencies. The release said the people would be placed in safe, healthy accommodations.
The people will be housed in a combination of hotels, shelters and housing units before long-term housing is found.
"We need to stress this is a relocation to support these individuals to have housing after we decide whether it's a partial or full closure of this property," Hackl said.
Hackl said each of the residents will also be tested for COVID-19.
Tribal Chief: 'This is ugly'
The Saskatoon Tribal Council Tribal Chief Mark Arcand said people with similar rental issues should be going to the fire department with any complaints.
"It's not the people's issue, it's the landlord," Arcand said. "The landlord has to be held accountable and transparent for providing this type of service to people and if he's not doing it properly, he shouldn't be in the business."
Arcand said the housing issue in Saskatoon needs to be addressed with other landlords so something like this doesn't happen again.
"This is deplorable, this is ugly, it doesn't sit well with me." Arcand said. "Nobody should live in this, we're not a third-world country."
"This is the city of Saskatoon. It's 2020, we have a lot of resources."
Last year the hotel's owner, John Pontes, received a suspended sentence for sexually assaulting a 30-year-old woman staying at the hotel.
The 75-year-old man was given 18 months of probation and will be registered as a sex offender for 20 years.
The hotel will be officially served notice on Thursday, the fire department said.