Okanagan mobile home residents prepare for eviction

It’s a development project that has been in the works for over a decade.

Now, residents at a mobile home park in Kelowna have just been notified their eviction notices are on the way.

“I’m all for redevelopment, and keeping jobs and getting our economy back on track. It just seems like there’s people getting left behind,” said Jeff Felardeau, a Hiawatha Mobile Home resident.

Felardeau is a resident who lives at the park and is on a disability pension.

He said finding a new home that’s as affordable has been extremely difficult.

“Basically, it’s rooming houses (that’s available). I’m a bit older than someone that wants to live with five, six, seven other people in a house,” said Felardeau.

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Felardeau said he reached out to BC Housing for help but found backlogs and wait times.

“I’ve been on a two-year waitlist with BC Housing and the waitlist is like the lottery,” Felardeau told Global News on Wednesday.

Another resident who is a single mother that has been laid off due to COVID-19 said the eviction couldn’t come at a worse time.

“It’s not easy. I’ve talked to Habitat for Humanity, rental assistance, BC Housing — I’ve talked to everybody,” said Victoria Fox.

“They have so many applicants, it could take up to a year to get a home for me.”

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Jeff McCutcheon, Felardeau’s neighbour who is legally blind, echoes his neighbour’s sentiments about leaving the park and finding a new home.

“Very sad, worried, anxiety, wondering where I’m going, where I’m going to move to, that’s how I’m feeling,” said McCutcheon.

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“There’s nothing comparable to this (home) and the affordability.”

The 18-acre property in Kelowna is being developed by Edmonton-based development company Westcorp.

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Westcorp said the letter that has been given is to give the residents time to figure out their next living arrangements.

“That’s why we sent the letter yesterday, because we know we are probably only a month or two away from giving them their four-month notice,” said Gail Temple, Westcorp’s vice-president of operations.

“We would like to assist those folks, connect them with others who can help them find alternative arrangements.”

Westcorp purchased the 18-acre property in 2007. They say they will be building 200 affordable single family townhomes on the lot.

Global News reached out to BC Housing but did not receive a statement or interview.

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