UPDATED: Temporary ‘slums’ discussed in West Kelowna

The temporary agricultural dwellings bylaw amendment will be heard by council once more

Contributed

Contributed

Residents of the Schaffe Road area in West Kelowna are concerned about the safety and sanitation of their neighbourhood due to what they call temporary agricultural “slums.”

Colin Crabbe spoke during a public hearing on the issue this week and reminded city councillors it was just a year ago when a seemingly high woman living on one of those properties pushed her way into his home on Scharf Road, while only his wife and children were there. He pointed out that “something needs to be done” about the conditions the temporary workers have been living in.

“People who use these facilities are the most vulnerable to exploitation of farm owners,” he said.

He also claimed property damage and crime has skyrocketed in the area and there is a need for oversight and enforcement.

READ ALSO: BETTER HOUSING NEEDED

“These temporary agricultural ‘slums’ have been a source of regular seasonal crime and I believe that without revising the bylaw they will continue to put the community at risk,” Crabbe said.

Sheila Kennedy, another resident of Scharf Road, is also tired of dealing with the problems related to temporary farm-worker housing.

She wrote a letter describing the “deplorable” conditions that at least one property owner subjects his temporary workers to.

READ ALSO: LARGE FARM WORKER HOUSING PLAN SET IN KELOWNA

Kennedy lives directly across from the fourplex that Sarwan Gidda, of TBA Farms uses to house temporary workers.

Kennedy has said there were several instances since dating back to 1994 when people arrived at her door in an alarming condition, and she believes they were from Gidda’s property.

In one case her sister-in-law had a blood-covered man knock one night after being stabbed. In another, she had a French man knock and ask to use a proper shower after only being able to use a garden hose in the accommodation he was provided.

“There’s a dilapidated trailer on that property…in the spring we will have all these tenters, it’s all the drinkers and the partiers, and there is nothing done about it,” Kennedy said.

READ ALSO: SQUALID CONDITIONS

“What kind of impression are we giving these foreign workers of Canada when they go home with conditions like this?” Kennedy said.

Gidda says that the photos are of a different farm, and that he is not in violation of any bylaws.

“Those pictures are false, maybe 10, 15 years ago that is what we had to do. If you look there now there is no one camping, everyone has accommodation,” Gidda said.

Gidda only has tenters on his property during cherry picking season for 10 days at a time due to the short picking time.

Gidda said that he believes he’s being blamed for the issue due to racism.

READ ALSO: TEMPORARY HOUSING

Crabbe isn’t worried about pointing fingers.

He wants to improve the living standard for the temporary foreign workers and therefore the rest of the neighbourhood.

Council has been working to to find resolutions that create additional regulations regarding the use and quantity of RVs and tents for temporary workers investigating other possible zoning bylaw amendments that will require proper washrooms and bathing facilities for agricultural workers, including those staying in tents.

Council will hear the bylaw amendment once more before deciding on whether or not to adopt the changes.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@sydneyrmorton
sydney.morton@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
Injured mountain biker rescued in West Kelowna

The mountain biker reportedly has a hip injury about 1 km up the Smith Creek Road trail

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Asia Youngman (right) is pictured shooting another short film she wrote and directed titled Hatha. (Luba Popovic)
Peachland set to star in fantasy thriller film about N’xaxaitk’w — a.k.a. the Ogopogo

The film will follow an Indigenous teen as she navigates peer pressure, bullying and identity

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

The Pierre family, an Indigenous family, once lived in what is now downtown Summerland. Today, Pierre Drive is named in honour of the family. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Pierre family played role in Summerland’s history

Downtown Summerland was once Penticton Indian Reserve #3

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Most Read