Hamilton News: Residents concerned about cleaning and COVID-19 at apartment building on Hamilton Mountain's Mohawk Road East

Posted January 20, 2021

Some residents at the apartment building at 977 Mohawk Rd. E. are complaining about what they claim is a lack of cleaning and sanitization at the seven-floor complex.
 
“We’ve got a cleaning guy who comes in, he stays about 20 minutes and then he leaves,” said Diane Smith, who has lived at the apartment building for the past four years. “He does the lobby and washes the elevator, then goodbye.”
 
Smith, 76, noted that there are many seniors at the building who are concerned that the lack of cleaning in the common areas could make them vulnerable to the coronavirus.
 
She added that one tenant at the building has the virus, but Hamilton Community News has not been able to verify that.
 
Marilyn Omlinksy, an 86-year-old tenant with asthma, said the residents, via the tenants’ rights group ACORN, have been trying since last summer to push for increased cleaning and sanitization.
 
She noted some enhanced cleaning was done briefly.
 
“We’ve got a lot of people coming in and going here,” Omlinsky said. “There’s no one here to complain to.”
 
Omlinsky, who has lived there for five years, noted they have not had an on-site superintendent for more than a year and their calls to Drake Property Management, who took over the management of the site in April 2019, have not been returned.
 
She added that many of the seniors at the apartment don’t have computers and cannot send an email to the property management firm.
 
The residents added that there is also the potential issue of dust, as the units are being renovated after tenants move out.
 
Marnie Schurter, co-chair of ACORN’s Mountain chapter, noted that Hamilton’s public health department is recommending high-contact surfaces be cleaned twice a day, but it’s not mandatory.
 
City officials have confirmed that there are no mandatory cleaning rules and there is no bylaw requiring on-site superintendents.
 
“It’s shocking that 11 months into the pandemic, the city hasn’t made public health recommendations for landlords mandatory,” Schurter said. “Apartment buildings like the one at 977 Mohawk Road East house a lot of people, living in close quarters, sharing the same elevators and entrances. Landlords should be required to clean and sanitize high-contact surfaces in apartment buildings twice daily. I’m worried about COVID-19 outbreaks like the ones being seen in long-term-care homes is happening in apartment buildings next.”
 
ACORN is calling for several measures, including sanitizing high-contact surfaces twice a day, deep cleaning of common areas weekly, hand sanitizer in the common areas of each floor and a posted cleaning schedule in the common areas.
 
Drake Property Management sent the following statement to Hamilton Community News:
 
“Drake Property Management has adopted enhanced health and safety measures to protect tenants from COVID-19, including an enhanced cleaning routine to prevent viral spread. All Drake Property Management communities continue to comply with local municipal, provincial, and federal government guidelines, restrictions and emergency legislation. Our cleaning staff are on site multiple times per week to perform enhanced cleaning measures, ensuring high-touch areas are disinfected and sanitized along with a full building clean. Additionally, when anyone from our team visits a building, whether it be maintenance crews, office staff or rental agents, we always make it a point to disinfect high-touch areas such as main doors, elevator buttons, etc.”
 
The property management company also noted that each resident has been given a tenant’s handbook that includes daytime and after-hours contact information.
 
City communications officer Aisling Higgins said Hamilton’s licensing, bylaw services and public health departments have not received any complaints about a lack of cleaning at 977 Mohawk Rd. E.

 

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Article by Mark Newman for Hamilton News

 

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