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Inn operator found guilty of charges

Escarpment Inn and Residences owner fined $27,000-plus for 2014 infractions

By Mike Williscraft
NewsNow

The operator of a west Grimsby facility has been found guilty of several infractions and fined a total of $27,000, plus a 25 per cent victim surcharge.

The operator of the Escarpment Inn and Residences, Elder Life Care, located at 575-577 Main St. W. was found guilty in proceedings at the Fort Erie provincial courthouse on Feb. 6.

The owner was convicted for:
• failing to provide a fire safety plan, which resulted in a fine of $7500;
• failing to comply with a inspection order, which resulted in a fine of $10,000, and;
• The corporation of the property was convicted of failing to comply with an inspection order, which resulted in a fine of $10,000.

The infractions came about as a result of matters which arose in March 2015. NewsNow covered a series of stories dealing with operator’s handling of evictions for a large group of tenants at the site.

Grimsby Fire Department laid several Provincial Offences charges under the Fire Code and Fire Protection and Prevention Act.

In years immediately previous to this incident the department had engaged in a process to update safety strategies in three key property categories: seniors residences, multi-residential units and the downtown core.

At the time of its inspection of the property, Grimsby Fire found several issues which needed attention, including a lack of working fire alarm system.

It was reported at the time that, under order by the Grimsby Fire Department to install working smoke alarms, the land owner instead opted to empty the building of its occupants by evicting the tenants.

After Grimsby Fire officials notified the property’s management that they were responsible for a fire watch, due to not having an operating system, a security company was hired to monitor the site.

“Grimsby Fire Department’s Fire Safety Inspections and Fire Code Enforcement operating guideline addresses the first two lines of fire protection services; public fire and life safety education, and code enforcement, said Fire Chief Mike Cain.

Cain identified that the operating guideline states, “An effective inspection program must identify if the owner is maintaining a fire-safe property and reinforce fire-safe behaviours of property owners; not just identify infractions.

“This operating guideline establishes a procedural reference from which to conduct inspections. As the second line of defense in community fire safety, fire safety inspections sometimes result in the need to initiate legal proceedings in order to achieve compliance,” said Cain.

“This operating guideline provides guidance for progressive actions promoting compliance up to and including prosecution.”

Cain reinforced that Grimsby Fire remains committed to protecting the community through a prevention-centric approach to fire protection.

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