A spokesperson from the Island Hotel, where the body of a deceased male was discovered more than three weeks after his death, has made assurances that the matter is being taken care of.
“We’re doing some maintenance afterwards, but our first and foremost concern is the health issues,” said Moe Lessan of 2 Percent Realty Turbo, the property owner’s agent. “That’s why we’re having inspectors in, and we’ve gotten rid of all the carpets.”
The male was discovered July 30 after other residents in the building became concerned with the smell coming from his apartment. According to Barbara McLintock, spokesperson for the B.C. Coroners Service, the male had been there for some time.
“There’s a certain amount of reasonably well-educated guessing when it’s that long, but he was found on [July] 30th and our guess is he died on or around [July] 5th,” she said. “He would be described as what we would call an advanced state of decomposition.”
The male’s death was determined to be natural causes, and he was in his late 60s, McLintock said. She added that the length of time that transpires between when a person dies and when they are discovered is sometimes completely dependent on their social circle or way of living and that this particular case, although on a longer scale, is not unheard of.
“More often than you think, there’s a lot of people out there that don’t have regular contact with their families or anyone,” she said. “One to two weeks is not uncommon.”
McLintock said the incident is a good reminder for people to keep mindful of people in our lives who may end up in a similar situation.
“If you know somebody who lives alone that you don’t think is getting checked up on and you haven’t seen them around, go check, and if you don’t feel comfortable checking, the police will do it for you.”
But what has local residents most concerned is the time it has taken for the building to be cleaned out.
Coun. Glenda Patterson said she has been frequenting the building since the body was found and has heard numerous concerns from the residents there about maggots and bedbugs. She was told that once the body was removed, other tenants in the building put plastic up around the door to help keep the stench to a minimum.
“[One tenant] said the maggots were crawling down the wall from the ceiling,” she said.
Patterson said it was approximately eight days before any sign of a cleanup crew arrived.
“I happened to be there talking to the tenants again [when] there was these fellows in white suits, exterminators, that took the mattress out,” she said. “I’m appalled by it all; I’ve been in the medical profession 48 years and to have this in the heart of our town and for [the tenants] not to get some kind of help is pretty sad.”
According to Lessan, the suite was cleaned up approximately two to three weeks ago.
“Everything’s being expedited. We have the bedbug inspector as well; if there is anything, they will clean it up,” he said. “After everything is done, we’re going to be doing an upgrade inside and outside.”
Lessan confirmed that four of the building’s 13 tenants have since moved out of the Island Hotel, which is for sale but currently offers rooms for rent.
“They’re always full because it’s arguably one of the very few affordable housing [options], and we want to keep it that way,” Lessan said.