Police find drugs, weapons, ammunition and stolen goods in room at Northbridge Hotel

·4 min read

More illicit goods have been found in a room in the City of Kamloops-owned Northbridge Hotel — and they are linked to a bust in November.

Kamloops Mounties were helping a bailiff recover possessions from a room in the North Kamloops hotel on Dec. 31. Police say a locksmith opened the door to the unoccupied room and movers began packing up the property inside. Police said it was then that they discovered suspected fentanyl, stolen licence plates, ammunition, a spiked extendable baton and what appeared to be a homemade revolver.

Police say the items were seized for destruction and the room was emptied of its contents, illegal and otherwise.

The unit is the same one Kamloops Mounties responded to in the hotel at 377 Tranquille Rd. on Nov. 9 for a call of suspected squatters and possible criminal activity. While the people found in the room that day were its legal tenants, they were arrested after officers spotted stolen items in plain view. After obtaining a search warrant, police seized two stolen e-bikes, a high-end mountain bike, suspected drugs and three modified, sawed-off long-barrelled firearms.

After that incident, ASK Wellness Society, which has a $20,000 per month contract to manage the hotel for the city, told KTW it will tackle criminal issues in the building, with help from the RCMP.

ASK Wellness Society executive director Bob Hughes told KTW the non-profit agency became aware of criminal activities within the hotel unit soon after assuming management and requested the RCMP attend and intervene in November.

At the time, Hughes said ASK was “working with representatives within the city and the RCMP to determine any other steps possible to keep these individuals from accessing the building.”

Speaking to KTW on Jan. 7, Hughes confirmed the actions taken on Dec. 31 were part of a process ASK undertook in evicting the tenants who were arrested on Nov. 9. Those tenants, he said, were released from custody that same November day and, due to tenancy obligations, ASK had no authority to evict them at the time, but have since had them removed.

“We had to go through a very long process to get an expedited hearing with the RTA [Residential Tenancy Act] in order to have them physically removed from the property,” Hughes said.

He said ASK was able to present evidence demonstrating the public safety risk from activity in that unit, sought an order of possession and had a bailiff attend to take possession of the unit, with assistance of Mounties, who were there to keep the peace.

Hughes said it’s his understanding the now-evicted tenants — a man and woman — are still living somewhere in the community.

Hughes said he was shocked the court didn’t remand the people in custody in November, considering the weapons and drugs involved. Hughes also noted the the eviction process took nearly two months to accomplish, adding it is understandable that the community at large has expressed frustration with these issues.

“Not only are they released within less than 24 hours, we, as a landlord, have to still honour them as tenants when we know they were trafficking and in possession of firearms and stolen property,” he said.

Since the departure of the tenants, Hughes said conditions at the hotel have improved, but noted it remains “a very challenging site” in terms of criminal and behavioural issues.

“There’s many people in there that are law-abiding and just want a place to live, but there’s still some issues in there that are challenging for us to deal with when it’s in a tenancy setting,” Hughes said.

ASK Wellness, which has its office a block away from the hotel, has done outreach with the hotel’s tenants in the past and has been managing the Northbridge since October of 2021. when the city purchased the hotel and an adjacent property for $7.1 million.

ASK is managing the property until the end of February, at which point the city is expected to determine a long-term manager for the building.

Hughes said ASK is not applying to obtain that forthcoming management contract.

“It won’t be us,” he said.

The city has said it intends to eventually sell the building for commercial redevelopment at some point in the future.

Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week

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