Tenants of an apartment complex plagued by bed bugs want the District of Maple Ridge to eradicate the infestation once and for all.
The Sunrise Apartments on 122nd Avenue has been repeatedly sprayed for the pest, but people who live in the building claim bed bugs continue to persist.
Cassandra Korchinski says bylaw officers visited her suite on Friday, but she remains annoyed by the district’s response.
The district has asked her and other tenants to list their concerns in individual letters, but have indicated they can’t do much about the bed bugs, mice or fleas at present.
“It’s really frustrating,” said Korchinski, who wants the district to amend its standards of maintenance bylaw to include pest control.
“We’ve been writing letters for eight months to the building managers and nothing’s been done.”
Korchinski has since moved out of the building because her daughters were being bitten by fleas and developed respiratory problems.
Bylaws director Liz Holitzki assures tenants that the district is still looking into the file.
The inspections done last week were cursory, she explained.
“It’s not just the Sunrise Apartments. Bed bugs are an issue in other apartments in Maple Ridge,” said Holitzki.
Holitzki wants to make sure that the district will have the authority to enforce a pest control amendment, should one go forward.
“There’s no point in amending something if it can’t be enforced,” she added.
The district intends to consult the City of New Westminster which has a clause about pest control in its bylaws.
Laura Ceklanovic meanwhile has spent the week throwing everything she owns into a dumpster. She fled the Sunrise last week after learning her suite was infested with bed bugs. She spent the first night in a homeless shelter in White Rock but has now found a new place to live.
“I can only take stuff that I can freeze or wash,” said Ceklanovic who claims she found a live bed bug even after her suite was sprayed.
“The spraying isn’t killing the bugs. It’s just going to move them from apartment to apartment.”
The bed bug infestation has left Ceklanovic, a single mom, with little to no possessions.
She doesn’t have money to do laundry but the most painful experience was throwing out all her son’s toys and books.
“I’m exhausted,” she says.
“There is nothing out there to help people in a situation like mine.”
Laura Ceklanovic needs help with her laundry, but is also looking for a pair of winter boots for her three-year-old son, as well as a few books and toys. If you can help, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.