Unwelcome: tenants and family told to leave Lake Cowichan
Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest led the council on July 25 to punish the new owner of 87/89 South Shore Rd. for the misdeeds of the former owner.
The mayor refused to accept the independent safety report requested by the council on June 27 and instead advised to evict five tenants (including three senior citizens) who have lived in the building for over a year. The independent safety report stated “the building is in good to above average condition and appears to have been well maintained” and recommended a sprinkler system to be installed and a few fire safety improvements to allow occupancy. The new owner, who planned to move his business from Nanaimo to Lake Cowichan, has done everything asked of him except evict his tenants and cause undue stress and hardship.
Council also refused to acknowledge any minor changes recommended to fix any shortfalls by various town and government inspections prior to the sale of the building.
My husband and I moved to Lake Cowichan from Ontario in April 2016 with my elderly parents (who rely on us for their care). We have been welcomed in the community and established ourselves by shopping and banking locally and registering with a town doctor, dentist and optometrist. Our daughter and son-in-law also live in town. We had no idea that the apartments were illegal until after we signed the lease. There is no affordable housing in town and we cannot afford another major move. We have nowhere to go.
Council voted 4-1 in favour of eviction. We are stunned by the vindictiveness of the council who are demanding that the apartments be demolished. Only Councillor Vomacka showed compassion voting against eviction and speaking on our behalf. Could this be because she is also a small business owner and a good neighbour who cares about people and
I believe that the good people of Lake Cowichan should take a closer look at the empty stores and lack of rental housing in this town and question how many other business have been thwarted by the current council whose complete unwillingness to find a middle ground is absolutely shameful.