An artist’s rendering of the proposed development that would replace the Hiawatha RV Park in Kelowna. (Contributed)

An artist’s rendering of the proposed development that would replace the Hiawatha RV Park in Kelowna. (Contributed)

Eviction notice leaves Kelowna trailer park resident fearing homelessness

44 mobile home units at Hiawatha RV Park were served an eviction notice yesterday, making room for new development

It’s coming down to the wire for residents of a Kelowna trailer park facing imminent eviction.

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, residents of 44 units still standing at the Hiawatha RV Park found out they have four months to vacate their properties.

A controversial large condo development, spearheaded by Westcorp, an Edmonton-based developer, was revived in February of this year. They have owned the property, currently occupied by the mobile home park, since 2007. Come February 2021, once everyone is evicted, they plan on demolishing the homes and starting new.

READ MORE: Westcorp revives controversial development at Kelowna mobile home park

Park resident Victoria Fox is dreading the move. But she’s speaking up for more than just herself. She said many people with disabilities reside in the park’s low-income housing, and moving them during the winter, and during a pandemic, will be a nightmare.

“That’s 60 families that have to try and find homes, in four months, in the middle of winter,” said Fox, adding that in the years she has lived there, the neighbourhood has been very supportive of her and her family. She said it’s been a great place to live.

“It’s going to be so weird to have to leave our homes… half of us might end up homeless. So, what are we supposed to do?”

Residents of the neighbourhood have started a petition against the set eviction date of Feb. 28. They say an extension to the end of April would give them more time to find new homes, as there is little to no availability for affordable housing at the moment. Fox also explained they have disputed the notice through Service BC, and hope this may result in an extension.

Westcorp vice president of operations Gail Temple said she only found out about this proposed extension yesterday (Oct. 28), and that it “remains to be seen.”

“It’s a construction schedule… so we will be as sensitive to that as we can,” she said. “Part of the reason we were hoping it would be springtime, is exactly that. It’ll be way easier for people to find accommodation in the spring.”

According to Westcorp, residents have long known of the park’s fate; demolition and revitalization. The company received approval in 2013 to redevelop the 18-acre site. In an effort to support those soon to be evicted, Westcorp said packages were sent to each with contact information for other low-income housing in the area.

Fox said despite applying to all low-income housing providers in the area, she is now on a one-year waiting list. It was recently reported that Kelowna has the fifth-highest rental rate in the country. The average two-bedroom rental unit in the city now costs $1750 per month.

“It’s nothing affordable for us, and they’re not helping us, they’re not accommodating us,” said Fox.

READ MORE: Large Glenmore rental development given greenlight by Kelowna council

However, there are far fewer people to move now than there were in the recent past. The discovery of black mould in a home resulted in the inspection and demolition of 49 homes, displacing many. In 2013, there were 94 sets of mobile home owners renting pads from the company.

Temple said condo development or not, the more-than-50-year-old mobile homes were reaching end-of-life and needed to be taken down. She said the homes were purchased from those who owned them, at a fair price determined in collaboration with the City of Kelowna.

Fox understands this, but just wishes they were supported more.

“I would just like to know why they don’t care about their tenants. Why aren’t you helping us a bit more? Why aren’t you putting us into one of your apartment buildings? Do you want the rest of us to be homeless?”

There is no guarantee the new development will be able to house those who will be evicted.

“They say it will be affordable housing, but I doubt it,” said Fox.

Temple said they never promised the new development would be affordable. However, some of the housing she said will be appropriate for families.

“We’re not building affordable housing, I want to be clear about that… this is not going to be replacing affordable housing,” said Temple, adding the entire site will be a large rental project.

In response to claims Westcorp ‘doesn’t care’ and that many may go homeless, Temple said she was “sorry to hear someone would feel that way.”

“I know change is always really, really tough but that is absolutely the last thing we would feel… I think we’re trying to be as sensitive and helpful through this whole process as we possibly can.”

READ MORE: Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

READ MORE: RCMP searching for missing Kelowna man

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

affordable housing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two Canadian petitions are asking to have elected officials removed from office. (Pixabay.com)
COLUMN: Petitions show loss of faith in democratic process

Online petitions from third-party sources have taken aim at elected officials in Canada

Summerland’s cenotaph was originally installed in front of the high school. The old school was located close to the corner of Rosedale Avenue and Jubilee Road. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Cenotaph and parks in Summerland honour fallen soldiers

Community memorials pay tribute to those who were killed in military service

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

(File)
One death and 82 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

1,981 total cases, 609 are active and those individuals are on isolation

Paramedic Jason Manuel, dressed in PPE, inspects an ambulance at Station 341 on Nov. 30. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Second wave, twice the anxiety; Okanagan paramedics reflect on pandemic from the front line

‘I don’t know who that (next) person is going to be, I don’t want it to be me or my family’: Paramedic

A snow moon rises over Mt. Cheam in Chilliwack on Feb. 8, 2020. Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 is Mountain Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Dec. 6 to 12

Mountain Day, Dewey Decimal System Day and Lard Day are all coming up this week

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that's ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov | AFP)
WEB POLL: Will you take a vaccine for COVID-19?

Doses are expected to arrive in the new year

Travis Hirlaka, Vernon
PHOTOS: Sunrise paints Okanagan skies

Residents in the Okanagan captured stunning shots of a colourful start to Saturday

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
First Nations Leadership Council demands justice for victims of B.C. social worker

Union of BC Indian Chiefs calls actions of Robert Saunders ‘nothing short of complete depravity’

(City of West Kelowna)
Large housing development in Central Okanagan back on the table

Council considering rezoning to accommodate 184 housing units, project hopes for ~933 by completion

Staff and students at Vernon’s Fulton Secondary School were evacuated due to an electrical short that sent one person to hospital Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Kerry Hutter photo)
Vernon high school evacuated, one person injured by electrical short

Incident at Clarence Fulton Secondary forced brief evacuation Friday afternoon

Chinook salmon spawning in the Fraser River near Tete Jeune Cache. ((Shane Kalyn photo, property of the Upper Fraser Fisheries Conservation Alliance)
North-Okanagan Shuswap MP petitions government to reform salmon management

Mel Arnold tables petition to allow more angler access to non-threatened Fraser River chinook salmon

Shuswap Cider Company has applied for a licence that would accommodate a cider manufacturing facility, a tasting room and patio/lounge area at Westgate Market in Salmon Arm. (File photo)
Cider manufacturing facilty, tasting room and patio proposed for Salmon Arm

Council asked to raise a virtual glass to a licence for a cidery and amenities in Westgate Mall

It was an opening day filled with blue skies, sun and COVID-19 protocols at Vernon’s SilverStar Mountain Resort Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Passholders enjoy sunny opening day at Silver Star Mountain

Resort staff say parking reservations, COVID-19 protocols went smoothly Friday, Dec. 4

Most Read