Province seeking lab services to test hazardous material within Manitoba Housing

Victoria Gardner says laboratory services to test potentially hazardous material within Manitoba Housing is ‘absolutely’ needed claiming she’s been made sick by materials present in her Manitoba Housing suite. Morgan Modjeski reports.

The Province of Manitoba appears to be looking for laboratory services that would test potentially hazardous material within Manitoba Housing and some who live in the publicly subsidised spaces say unfortunately, there will be plenty of samples available.  

“I’m spending most of my money on cleaning supplies and I’m so tired,” said Victoria Gardner, who is disabled and has a compromised immune system.

She claims she’s been made sick by what appears to be mold in her Manitoba Housing suite at 444 Kennedy Street, and when she’s raised the concerns to management, she’s been ignored. 

“I just gave up talking to them because I felt small. I felt like I didn’t matter,” she explained. 

“I’m supposed to come home and just relax and not have to worry about whether or not I’m going to have a hard time breathing.” 

Claiming she’s been made ill by material present at her Manitoba Housing apartment, Victoria Gardiner says laboratory services to test potentially hazardous material is ‘absolutely’ needed. (Photo Credit: Morgan Modjeski, CityNews)

Covering mold spots with tape, Gardner says it’s her understanding there is water damage in the building as a result of a leaky roof and says even now, you can hear dripping in some of the walls, stressing the province has to take action to make sure people living in Manitoba Housing units are safe.

“It’s not okay, just because we’re subsidized — we still pay rent — and we should be respected by the employees of Manitoba Housing — which we’re not.” 

The work sought by the province, according to a Request for Tender closing April 25, is for asbestos, mold, drinking water, sewage, and wastewater testing, alongside soil testing, Rodon testing, and other services as required. 

CityNews tried to obtain more information about the RTF — and its purpose — from the government but a response was not immediately received.

Others in the building echoed Gardner’s concerns, agreeing what appears to be mold is present. 

Asked if she feels lab services might be helpful, she said absolutely, stressing she’d welcome any sort of effort to address materials in her home that might be making her ill. 

“I can’t afford to move anywhere else — and I don’t want to — I just need them to help me to clean up.”

An interview request with a representative from Manitoba Housing was not accommodated, but in a statement sent Friday morning, the Government of Manitoba indicated the RTF has been issued to secure a new agreement for the services, stressing there have been previous agreements in place for similar services in the past.  

Part of managing the over 11,000 housing units across 3,000 properties in Manitoba Housing, the services will be utilized when a tenant or staff member has identified a concern, or testing is required on a routine basis.

The statement also noted tenants who are experiencing problems with hazardous materials should contact Manitoba Housing through the Housing Communications Centre at 1-800-661-4663 which is staffed 24/7/365.

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