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White Rock MLA vows not to leave senior tenants in the cold

Trevor Halford says slow response from building managers is ‘unacceptable’
Trevor Halford, BC United MLA for Surrey-White Rock says it’s ‘unacceptable’ that seniors in a White Rock rental apartment have been without heat for a week amid some of the coldest temperatures in recent memory. (File photo)

Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford vowed Friday not to leave residents of the Fir Haus Apartments in White Rock – most of them seniors – “spending another night without heat.”

Halford said Friday afternoon a number of residents had spent almost a week without central heating during one of the coldest spells in recent memory – a situation only compounded by heavy snowfall and icy rain between Tuesday and Thursday.

The BC United MLA said he had been speaking with representatives of Rockwell Management, who run the building, who had given him assurances that heat would be restored by Friday night, but that, as of that afternoon, he was “very skeptical.”

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He said that some of the tenants – many of whom are in their 80s and 90s, and had been pleading for haste in fixing the building’s heating system – had resorted to the unsafe practice of leaving their ovens on to help warm their suites.

“It’s very worrying – my heart breaks for the residents,” he said. His office has been making sure the residents have access to heaters and blankets, he added.

“If it wasn’t for one very elderly lady who braved the elements and came to my office, no-one might have known about this.”

“I told (Rockwell) that, in my view, this was completely unacceptable. It shouldn’t have taken a week to get this rectified,” Halford said.

Since being alerted to the problem he has notified both the White Rock RCMP and White Rock Fire and Rescue, who have responded by sending officers to the apartments to assess the situation, he said. He has also involved the Residential Tenancy Branch, he added.

“I’m not going to let up until this is rectified,” he said. “These people shouldn’t be in this circumstance.”

– more to come

About the Author: Alex Browne

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