Cape Breton seniors say odours, rodents in building making them sick

Rodent droppings in a toaster, smelly carpets and structural concerns are just some of the reasons why a group of Sydney seniors say they’re fed up with their apartment building managed by the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority.

The 18 residents of 22 Tillock Drive have written a detailed letter to the housing authority and are asking for staff to investigate their complaints.

Rose Mary MacLean, who’s lived in the building for 13 years, said the mice problem started last November.

“There was people sleeping on their couches or in their chairs because they’re too afraid to sleep, the mice crawling over them,” she said.

MacLean said others are being affected by the smells from the carpets in the common room and main floor area.

Florence MacNeil, a retired nurse, said the odours in the building are making her sick. (George Mortimer/CBC)

“The carpets stink like heck,” she said. “They clean them in the spring, they still stink.”

Besides the smell, the letter said the carpets are stained and wrinkled, which could pose a tripping hazard.

The letter said residents have found rodent droppings on countertops and beds, in sinks and in one case, in a toaster.

Florence MacNeil, a retired nurse, said the odours are affecting her health.

“I’ve had three lung infections this year,” she said.

“Last year, I missed a big lobster party, which is bad for Cape Bretoners, and I missed a big family reunion of 12 brothers and sisters, that’s how bad it was.”

Cindy Latham says there are structural problems in her Tillock Drive apartment. (George Mortimer/CBC)

MacNeil said she wants the air quality in the building tested.

Resident Cindy Latham said there are structural issues in her apartment and the building needs a full inspection.

“Everything up there is on an angle, everything is sloped down and my flooring is lifting,” she said. “You can stand in an area in my living room and the boards move up and down.”

Residents to meet with area MLA

The housing authority declined comment to CBC News, while the province referred comment to area MLA Derek Mombourquette.

“As I do with every concern that comes forward from a resident, we follow up and try to find a solution for everyone,” he said.

Mombourquette will meet with the residents on Friday and pass along their concerns directly to the housing authority.