Health authority says bed bug issue at Okanagan motel not a health problem

LAKE COUNTRY, B.C. – Complaints against an Okanagan motel are stacking up.

Former guests have come forward to Global News looking for help dealing with bed bugs and mould found during their stay at the Airport Inn Lakeside in Lake Country.

Owner Raif Fleihan told Global News they check their suites every day and believes there is nothing more they can do to prevent bed bugs.

“They go everywhere,” said Fleihan. “Nobody’s safe. You cannot put a fence up.”

Dave Pynn said he became covered with bed bug bites that turned into itchy scabs following his initial stay at the Airport Inn Lakeside this past winter.

“It got to the point where we were getting chewed up,” said Pynn.

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“They were everywhere. They were coming out of the walls. They were coming out of the mattresses. They were everywhere.”

Debbra Weaver and her son Aaron Weaver also told Global News there were bitten by bed bugs while staying at the motel this winter.

“All you do is brush bugs off the bed,” said Debbra.

Pynn said he took his complaint to the Interior Health Authority (IHA).

He was disappointed to hear the IHA wouldn’t do anything about the bed bugs because the insect is not considered a health hazard.

“I’ll be honest: bed bugs are icky,” said IHA Environmental Health Operations Manager Courtney Hesketh. “I’d be upset if I stayed at a hotel with bed bugs.”

“I know that they’re not a public concern because they don’t transmit disease. But they are uncomfortable.”

Pynn instead hauled the mattress from his room to the dump but it was not replaced by motel staff.

“We are the only province that doesn’t have legislation to put a stop to any of this kind of stuff,” said Pynn, ading he would like the IHA to be given the authority to protect motel and hotel guests from bed bugs.

On Wednesday, Global Okanagan will explore online complaints made by vacationers about the Airport Inn Lakeside and look into why more can’t be done to enforce standards at B.C. accommodations.

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