Disabled tenant in public housing in tears over elevator that hasn't worked all year

·2 min read
Margaret Bodley is living in 50 Charlton Place, where the elevator has been down for six months. Her daughter Lorrie Leblanc is worried she might fall going up the stairs to her fourth-floor apartment.  (Submitted by Lorrie Leblanc - image credit)
Margaret Bodley is living in 50 Charlton Place, where the elevator has been down for six months. Her daughter Lorrie Leblanc is worried she might fall going up the stairs to her fourth-floor apartment. (Submitted by Lorrie Leblanc - image credit)

Margaret Bodley, 71, has only left her fourth-floor apartment in Saint John twice in three weeks. But for her, it isn't a choice.

In late May, Bodley moved into 50 Charlton Place, where the elevator has been broken since December. She was assured the elevator would be working again by June 1.

As a disabled person with back and hip problems, Bodley requires the elevator to get to her apartment.

"You can't go outside because you [have] no way up," she said.

Awaiting inspection

Bodley said she gets dizzy walking and is afraid she might fall going up the stairs.

"Everybody's suffering," she said. "I'm suffering."

Bodley's daughter, Lorrie Leblanc, said the family has now been told the elevator is fixed, but needs to be inspected, which hasn't happened yet.

Leblanc said she's concerned for her mother's safety, since Bodley has a bad hip and is diabetic. When moving Bodley into the apartment, even she and her husband struggled bringing the boxes up the stairs.

"She's going to fall," Leblanc said. "It is a concern to me that if something was to happen to my mother, where it is a security building, unless you have a key or you're aware, you're not getting in."

Leblanc said the situation is more surprising because 50 Charlton Place is public housing and there are many seniors living in the building.

"It's stressful because I know she's in agony. I know she's in pain," said Leblanc. "I know what she's capable of doing and this is not something she's capable of doing."

Beyond department's control

Rebecca Howland, a communications representative for the Department of Social Development, said the replacement of the elevator box shaft and pit encountered some technical issues that were out of the department's control.

She said Social Development worked with tenants to accommodate their needs by offering delivery services or offering to move some tenants to a lower floor.

She said Social Development worked with tenants to accommodate their needs by offering delivery services or offering to move some tenants to a lower floor.

Howland said an inspector would be onsite at 50 Charlton Place this week.

"We are hoping to see the issue resolved in the near future," she wrote.

For Bodley, a solution can't come soon enough.

"I'm crying all the time because I can get downstairs, but I can't get up," said Bodley.

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