Collin Crabbe went to West Kelowna city council in August to call for improvements to temporary farm worker housing.—Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

West Kelowna acting on squalid farm worker conditions

Move to set new rules follows incident at a Scharf Road home in August

Following a frightening incident for a West Kelowna woman and her children last summer, West Kelowna council has moved to address the issue of temporary agricultural worker housing.

Council has directed city staff to start drafting zoning bylaw amendments to deal with the issue after a female farm worker, believed to be high on drugs, pushed her way into the woman’s Scharf Road home and was later apprehended by police hiding in a shed on the property,

In August, the husband of the woman who had to fend off the intruder appeared before council to plead for help for him and his neighbours, long frustrated by the situation, and for the workers, who he said are being forced to squalid and unsafe conditions.

Collin Crabbe showed council photos of run down accommodations, outside toilets, and other appalling living conditions he said the foreign farm workers are being subjected to on a farm near his home. He also alleged exploitation of the farm workers and an increase in crime in the neighbourhood.

“Something needs to be done,” said Crabbe, who said his wife had to hide their children in a bedroom while she fought off the female intruder, before the woman fled the house. The intruder was later identified as a temporary worker at the nearby farm and was believed to be high on drugs at the time of the incident.

Last year a petition signed by 70 people in Crabbe’s neighbourhood asked council to take action on the sub-standard farm worker housing.

In directing staff to act, council expressed concerns about ongoing alleged criminal activity and bylaw infractions related to the inadequate housing on the Scharf Road farm. In response, staff provided a report with options for council to consider to help address the concerns.

Council has now asked staff to:

• Investigate further regulations in the zoning bylaw for the use of tents and recreational vehicles as acceptable forms of temporary agricultural worker dwellings.

• Require that all agricultural worker dwellings have hygienic washroom and bathing facilities.

• Require that all agricultural worker dwellings follow occupant loads in the British Columbia Building Code and gather input from the industry on that point.

• Investigate further mechanisms for proponents of temporary agricultural worker dwellings to notify the city of their intent to operate.

• Investigate the possibility of requiring business licenses for the operation of agricultural worker dwellings and increasing the fine for a contravention of the bylaw.

• Investigate a council policy for statutory declarations and/or restrictive covenants associated with temporary agricultural workers.

City staff also plan to consult with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agricultural Advisory Commission and the local agricultural industry when drafting new regulations.

Public consultation will also be undertaken.

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



awaters@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Heavy snowfall expected for Coquihalla, Okanagan valley

Coquihalla highway, the Connector, and Highway 3, from Princeton to Allison Pass are getting snow.

West Kelowna to hire eight more firefighters

The city looks to solve what they are calling a critical shortage of firefighters

Kelowna RCMP look to reunite stamp collection with owner

The stamp collection was handed to RCMP in Oct.

Kelowna RCMP search for speed-slowing cut out

The cut out of Const. Warren Ning has been allegedly taken from A.S. Matheson Elementary School

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

China demands US drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

China detained two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng

9 brains, 3 hearts: Some wild facts about octopuses

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Man charged in 7-Eleven fire in Shuswap granted bail

Accused facing arson charges released with 23 conditions including a 7 p.m. curfew

Signs commemorating Japanese interment in the Shuswap planned

Information on each of the five internment camps in the area will be provided at camp locations

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Most Read