Forest View Suites, formerly known as Princeton Towers, is a hot spot not only for fire and ambulance calls but for RCMP responses as well.
For the first three months of 2019, about a third of calls to Thompson Fire & Emergency Services (TFES) came from the two nine-floor apartment buildings on Princeton Drive.
In June of this year, the Thompson RCMP responded to 143 complaints at the apartment complex, compared to 64 in the same month of 2018.
“This does not include other physical attendance at these buildings themselves (arrests, file follow-up, curfew checks, etc.),” Manitoba RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Julie Courchaine said.
At a June 13 public safety committee meeting, Coun. Duncan Wong asked if the TFES’s monthly reports about fire responses and ambulance calls could be broken down to show how many times firefighter/paramedics were called to specific addresses in the city. TFES Chief Mike Bourgon said it was possible but there might be some concern about singling out specific properties, prompting committee chair Coun. Jeff Fountain to suggest that perhaps the data could be provided for in-camera discussion.
TFES Deputy Chief Steve Molloy said during the June meeting that Forest View Suites would be receiving monthly inspections by TFES due to ongoing safety and health concerns, such as elevators that are frequently not working and urine and feces in the building’s common areas. He said that fines levied on Armour Property Management, which has been managing the buildings for the last year or so, have been falling on deaf ears. Asked by Mayor Colleen Smook how important it was for the elevators to be working, Molloy said it was extremely important, noting that a TFES crew had recently had to transport a patients down seven flights of stairs in a stair chair because the elevators were not working.
“Is it getting any better?” said Molloy. “No, it’s not. In fact, in my personal opinion, it’s getting worse.”
Coun. Judy Kolada said that work orders and deadlines can be given to start the process of eventually redirecting rent away from the buildings’ owners and directly to the Residential Tenancies Branch. Bourgon noted that fixing the problems at Forest View Suites would require the commitment of multiple agencies, not just the city.