A Yellowknife restaurant plagued by pests is pleading with the owners of Centre Square Mall to do more.
Yousry Abdelmegid, the co-owner of Main Street Falafel and Donair, says his restaurant is forced to spray for cockroaches every weekend.
Earlier this week, Cabin Radio reported both Main Street and neighbouring A&W have been suffering from the issue for some time.
“It’s been an ongoing problem for [five or six] months,” said Abdelmegid – and it’s starting to affect business.
“The mall doesn’t know how to deal with the problem,” he added, “even though the health inspectors told them they have to spray the whole mall.”
The chief operating officer of Holloway Lodging Corporation, which owns Centre Square Mall, said he had not heard of complaints from tenants – but promised to investigate.
Cockroaches ‘wandering’ around
Abdelmegid believes the only way to rid the mall of the pests, which were noted in both Main Street and A&W’s food inspection reports, is to close the mall for a long weekend and spray everywhere.
He said Main Street would happily close for three or four days if it meant the cockroach problem would go away.
Right now, he said, intermittent and isolated spraying simply drives cockroaches around and around the building – they disappear for a few days after spraying until someone elsewhere in the mall sprays, at which point the roaches head back toward Main Street.
“They migrate,” he explained, “Wandering around … up and down and everywhere.”
The restaurant owner suspects the cockroaches originated in the basement, where he says an old grease trap lies abandoned.
After the mall’s L’Atitudes Restaurant-Bistro closed, he said, no one poured chemicals down the drain to sanitize it – and the cockroaches began to multiply.
In the meantime, the pest problem is affecting business.
“Customers don’t come to the mall. It’s causing trouble for us,” he worried.
But he hopes Main Street can stay in its current location, facing onto Franklin Avenue, which receives plenty of foot traffic.
Mall management to provide update
Felix Seiler, the chief operating officer of mall owner Holloway, said news of the infestation had not made its way to him, but pledged to look into it.
He expected to respond to Cabin Radio in more detail soon after the holiday break.
“We are not the operators of the restaurants. We don’t see the copies of the food inspection reports,” he said, adding he could not comment on the reports without having seen them, nor on the “third-party claims” of Abdelmegid.
Seiler said as far as he knows, tenants in the building have not reported the problem to Holloway.