PRINCE GEORGE - Council has opted to uphold a six-month suspension of the business licence with respect to the Queensway Court Motel. The business licence was suspended due to a number of issues at that motel.
Superintendent Warren Brown called the motel as one of the top ten "hot spots" for criminal activity in the city.
Spt. Brown referred to some of the analysis of that activity, which saw an increase of 150% from January to June of 2016 and the same period of 2018. He also highlighted the number of comments from neighbours in the area, who spoke of prostitution, drug dealing, garbage and needles around the hotel.
He also referred to the number of false 911 calls from that motel because of the antiquated phone system in the rooms and the number of officers who had to respond "because of the violent nature of the calls" coming from the motel.
"It became our fishing hole," he told Council, which is what the detachment calls a habit of stopping at the motel near the end of the shift "to find a bad guy or a stolen car."
Spt. Brown referenced a meeting police had with the owner Soo Hyun Won to talk about ways to reduce the amount of criminal activity, such as changing the phone system.
In the defence of the owner, measures have been taken to address some of the problems. In last August, he changed out the phone system and last week built a locked fence while beefing up the number of security cameras. Counsel for the owner also suggested a six months suspension could result in bankruptcy.
However, Councillors didn't hold back in their decision.
Councillor Brian Skakun called Won's recent efforts smoke and mirrors. "I don't think I want to give Mr. Won a break. I think the people who need a break are the neighbours who had to put up with this motel."
"I don't think he sorry that he's running a shoddy motel," said Councillor Terri McConnachie. "I don't think he's sorry he's capitalizing on some of the most vulnerable in our society. I think Mr. Won is sorry the hammer has fallen.
It was Councillor Garth Frizzell who pointed out the "fix" for the phone system cost $89 and "could have been done years ago."
But it was Mayor Lyn Hall who concluded the remarks. "I just can not tolerate what's taking place here. Make no mistake, there are victims here."
The tenants will be evicted from the motel and the City is working with BC Housing to find new accommodations.
The six-month suspension kicks in October 1st and the owner will have to re-apply for that licence at the end of it.
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