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‘Gruelling circumstance’: Surrey motel renters without hot water since mid-January

A handful of renters at a long-term stay motel in South Surrey have been without hot water for just over a month and without regular heat for about two years, Global News has learned.

Dawn McKay has lived at the Cedar Lane Motel for 11 years. She said the pipes froze on Jan. 14, but around nine people have been living in the cold for much longer than that in a building in general disrepair.

“It’s a really gruelling circumstance,” McKay said Monday.

“It’s extremely difficult, in fact, even dangerous for some of the tenants who are disabled and can’t carry large pots of hot water to and from their sink to wherever they need it.”

McKay said she bought an expensive infrared heater and “huddle(s) in one room” to keep warm when it’s cold out, but she’s aware of neighbours using space heaters, an oven — even a toaster oven — to do the same.

She’s bathing with buckets of boiled water, she added, but not everyone in the building is physically able do the same and she’s worried about hygiene and illness.

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McKay took her concerns to the Residential Tenancy Branch and a hearing was held on Feb. 12, she said.

Meanwhile, tenants have been served a four-month eviction notice, McKay added. She claimed the property owner determined it would be more expensive to fix the building than demolish it.

A 59-room hotel development proposal sign has been posted outside the motel.

Global News reached property owner Kam Dha by phone. He said repairs for hot water are imminent and parts have been ordered.

“I can check the ETA on the parts that have been ordered maybe tomorrow and I can update you on when it’s coming,” Dha said. “It will be done pretty shortly.”

Dha confirmed the eviction notice and intentions to demolish the building, but disputed claims there has been no heat for about two years. He said he was first notified of the latest issues around the beginning of the month.

Dha also said the development permit for the property is approved, but the company is awaiting a building permit.

Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford said the renters at Cedar Lane are owed “a lot of answers,” while the Ministry of Housing said by email it would be reaching out to the Residential Tenancy Branch first thing on Tuesday morning.

“These people deserve the basic necessities of life, and that’s heat and hot water,” Halford said Monday. “To be without heat for two years, without hot water for over a month is absolutely ridiculous. It’s shameful and it’s criminal.”

— with files from Elizabeth McSheffrey

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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