The Trade Winds Inn in Rockland. Credit: Stephen Betts / BDN

The Rockland hotel that nearly lost its lodging license will likely have its license renewed next month after passing a city inspection this week, according to the city’s fire chief.

Earlier this month, Rockland City Council denied renewing the annual lodging license to the Trade Winds Inn due to the business’ failure to show they were working to fix safety violations. However, the existing license had a little more time on it. The hotel was given a temporary 30-day extension Monday, the day it was to expire, and city officials inspected the facility Tuesday morning.  

While some electrical and sprinkler system work still needs to be done, Rockland Fire Chief Chris Whytock said the problems are scheduled to be fixed and do not pose an immediate risk. Given the results of Tuesday’s inspection, Whytock said he and the city’s code enforcement officer will sign off on the license renewal which will then go to council for final approval next month.

With the facility coming close to losing its ability to host guests, Whytock said he felt it motivated management to show the city that they were working toward fixing identified problems.

“That’s kind of what I was hoping for, that people would realize they needed to take this process a little more seriously and make it happen and they did,” Whytock said. “It’s not that we look to shut down businesses. That’s the last thing we want to do, obviously, but we need to make sure the buildings are safe and up to code.”

The Trade Winds Inn has previously been at risk of losing its lodging license for code violations in 2016, after  the facility appeared on an episode of the Travel Channel’s “Hotel Impossible,”  and more recently in 2019. Both times the hotel’s license was renewed after the violations were fixed.

Whytock said Tuesday’s inspection was one of the best he has conducted at the facility. The only new problems found were some doors that did not properly close and latch on their own, which Whytock said were minor issues that can be fixed in a timely manner. He also said it was suggested that some additional emergency lighting be added.

Prior to the inspection, the city was aware of electrical work that was done without a permit following fires in 2019 and sprinkler heads that were in need of replacement.

Whytock said the electrical issues are isolated to four rooms that are undergoing other repairs, so power has been shut off to the rooms and management has agreed not to rent the rooms to guests until the repair work is completed and inspected.

A company is scheduled to fix the sprinkler deficiencies in January 2022, Whytock said, which include replacing painted over sprinkler heads, adding new ones and also fixing a switch that detects water flow. Whytock said the overall sprinkler and alarm system are still operational.

Once that work is completed, fire and code officials will conduct a follow-up inspection.

Trade Winds Inn owner Aimee Liberty sent a letter to city officials last week, in which she took responsibility for past violations and committed to having a better working relationship with the city going forward.

“Aimee and the [Trade Winds Inn] management team have said they’re not going to put themselves in this position again and they’re going to make sure they’re on top of these ongoing issues we always find. Until they’ve proven otherwise, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and work with them and make sure everything is safe,” Whytock said.