'They deserve a safe place': AUPE says Lethbridge's Melcor building is dangerous
Lethbridge's Melcor Centre has gone through quite a lot recently.
With eight floods since 2014, and four so far this year, it's seen an extensive amount of damage in a short time.
The floods have caused several tenants of the office building on Fourth Avenue South to be flooded out or closed, including a section that houses Alberta Health Services' employees.
However, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) South Region Darren Graham says there is more to be concerned about regarding the floods.
"The floods that have happened in our area have actually happened above the suspended ceiling and caused ceiling tiles to come crashing down on workers’ desks, in meeting rooms, in file rooms," Graham said. “That’s a huge concern because one of the big offices there is children services. We also have Alberta Health Services with our members working in them."
So far, the falling ceiling tiles haven’t caused any injuries, but Graham is worried that if someone were to be hit, it would cause some serious injuries or worse.
"If it was a small child they could even be potentially killed. It's a real concern, not only for our members' safety but for the public's safety too,” Graham said.
When the waterlogged ceiling tiles fall, they can weigh up to 50 pounds.
Even if they aren't causing injuries, it's a significant amount of damage that needs to be fixed.
MORE PROBLEMS AT MELCOR
While the floods are a big cause for concern, it's not the only thing AUPE is worried about.
"We've had other issues with people being stuck in elevators, stairwell issues, we've seen concrete drop off some of the areas within the parkade," Graham said.
"So there's a variety of issues that we’re concerned with."
The unsafe conditions of the building has Graham hoping that the government workers using the offices will leave the building.
"We really just want the government of Alberta to get out of the lease and to find different facilities for our members to work in and serve the public.
"The citizens of Lethbridge and surrounding areas deserve that – they deserve a safe place to go."
A representative of Melcor Developments, in a request for a statement from CTV News, said the leak in the building was caused by equipment that was installed by another tenant.
Melcor says its own property manager, Braemore Management Ltd., took steps to deal with the problems, including hiring a plumber to fix a leak and remediate the damage caused by the flooding.
It also says Occupational Health and Safety is involved.
"An OH&S investigation has been initiated, and Melcor and Braemore are working in full cooperation in the investigation and have provided all materials (blue prints, maintenance records, etc.) requested," said Nicole Forsythe, director of corporate communications for Melcor in an emailed statement.
The company says all three leaks that were reported were due to the air eliminators that were installed in various locations of the units occupied by AUPE.
It adds that the issue that caused the flooding in the building has been fixed.
"We have reached an agreement with the internal government infrastructure manager to test the air eliminators twice yearly to prevent future issues."
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