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Emotions well up during public hearing on West Kelowna mobile home park

Council voted to postpone rezoning of Shady Acres Mobile Home Park to industrial use
A resident of Shady Acres Mobile Home Park speaks to West Kelowna council during a public hearing on Jan. 23, 2023, on a rezoning development application that if approved will leave many people without a home. (Gary Barnes/WestK News)

No reprieve for some West Kelowna residents at risk of losing their homes to redevelopment.

Although council voted to postpone allowing Kerr Properties to rezone Shady Acres Mobile Home Park (2355 Marshall Road) to industrial use at a public hearing Tuesday (Jan. 23), it was made clear the property will be redeveloped.

Approximately 35 people attend the at times emotional hearing.

Many said that they had no place to go.

“I really need your help,” resident George pleaded with council. “I don’t know what to do.”

Cathy, who has lived at the park for 38 years has a son with mental development issues and also doesn’t know where she will go.

“The mental stress this has put on us is far more than we can handle. I’m asking from the bottom of my heart for you to think about what this entails.”

The park is home to 27 units, 10 of which are owned and the rest rented.

All residents will receive compensation, with some owners choosing Option 1 being offered by the company.

“So that’s the 2023 assessed value plus 10 per cent, plus $1,000 in relocation assistance,” explained Travis Tournier, development manager for Kerr Properties.

BC Assessment shows values of homes in the park ranging from $24,000 to $51,000.

“What they offer is a joke,” said Glen, another resident. “I’m asking council, if they offered that to you wouldn’t you fight?”

Tournier pointed out that the offer is above and beyond what is required by provincial legislation which is $20,000 in compensation.

Owners who accept the company’s offer have four months to move out.

Renters were given four months notice in January and will receive one month’s rent as compensation, and $1,000 in relocation assistance under the Mobile Home Tenancy Act.

However, many residents claimed they had not been contacted by the Kerr Properties representative tasked with helping in their relocation.

“That’s absolutely untrue,” Tournier said. “Our relocation assistance coordinator has been in touch with everybody who is willing to work with her. If they don’t contact her we assume that they don’t need help.”

He said their coordinator has also been threatened by residents.

Several residents said they are experiencing mental health stresses or are dealing with disabilities.

Coun. Stephen Johnston asked that non-profits and senior government reach out to Kerr Properties and offer assistance.

“Interior Health and the province I’m talking to you. I’m not for development going ahead when people have no access to housing.”

So far only two park residents have been able to find a new place to live.

Coun. Rick de Jong pointed out that while it is not up to the developer to find residents new homes, it does have a responsibility to pursue assistance.

“I don’t have confidence this has taken place,” he said. “The applicant needs to step up in a much greater capacity than what I saw here tonight.”

Several councillors noted that the property will eventually be rezoned.

The park has been operating for more than 50 years and many of the mobile homes are beyond their useful life, according to the developer.

Staff has been directed to provide council with an update on the developer’s relocation progress in March.

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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