Senior sent packing because of mice could soon be back in St. John’s apartment building

Bonnie Belec
Published on February 18, 2014
Erin Alexander is pictured in this Telegram file photo from last week.

The daughter of a woman who left her St. John’s apartment earlier this month because of a problem with mice says they are working with the property owner to resolve the situation.

“We’ve been negotiating with them,” Erin Alexander told The Telegram today.

“She’s still not living back there, but I’ll have more information when I get back in town tomorrow,” she said from western Newfoundland.

Alexander and her mother, Elizabeth Maddox, wrote letters about two weeks ago describing a mice infestation in the Kenny’s Park apartment where Maddox has lived since 2009.

Mice droppings are clearly visible in the 14 photos accompanying the letters sent to The Telegram, which were also copied to St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe, St. John’s East NDP MHA George Murphy, the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corp., and other organizations.

Alexander and her mother also sent the letters — dated Feb. 5 — to Northern Property, but at that time they said they weren’t getting any satisfaction.

In her letter, Maddox said she had been complaining to Northern Property about the mice for about a year and a half — at least three times in that period — with the last complaint filed on Jan. 22, 2014.

Northern Property hasn’t re­spond­ed to messages left by The Tele­gram in the past two weeks.

Last week, Alexander circulated a petition in the building and got more than 70 signatures at the 160-unit seniors’ building. She said other tenants weren’t home when they knocked on doors.

Murphy has presented copies of the petition to Northern Property and the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corp. (NLHC), which subsidizes some of the apartments.

He said he talked to the family Friday, and the building’s management, and he’s hopeful a solution can be reached.

Murphy said Northern Property is working to find Maddox another apartment in the building.

“It hasn’t happened yet,” Alexander said Tuesday, “but we’re working on it.”

Maddox has been staying with her daughter since the mice became a full-blown pest control problem.

She moved into the building initially in 2009 to be near her husband, who was then in long-term care at the Hoyles Escasoni Complex. He died in March 2010.

NLHC sent an inspector to the building last week, and Dennis Kendell, the Crown corporation’s executive director of regional operations, told The Tele­gram nothing out of the ordinary was found.

He said the inspector looked in common rooms and went through the building and found it clean and presentable.

Kendell said there were some holes found, but they have since been filled in.

He said the pest control company will revisit the building once a week for the next month.

A spokesman for the City of St. John’s said the city received a complaint about the building in early February, but is satisfied that Northern Property and the pest control company are addressing the tenant’s concerns.