British Columbia

Seniors face eviction from Penticton, B.C. mobile home park

Dozens of residents of the Delta Mobile Home Park in Penticton, B.C., have been ordered to leave the properties by before October 1.

'Here we are in our late 70s and we could be homeless,' says resident

Raymond and Georgine Melatini are living in an older manufactured home that can't be relocated into a different mobile home park. They've been ordered to leave by Oct. 1. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

Dozens of residents of the Delta Mobile Home Park in Penticton, B.C., have been ordered to leave the properties by October 1.

The trailer park is a collection of manufactured homes, recreation vehicles, and smaller homes located near Skaha Lake on Penticton Indian Band reserve land owned by a member of the band.

Some of the residents are seniors on fixed incomes who have called the area home for more than a decade.

"It's really, really difficult to know where to go," said Georgine Melatini who has been living at the park with her husband Raymond since 1994. 

"Here we are in our late 70s and we could be homeless." 

No reason given for eviction

The Melatinis live in an older style manufactured home and say that it won't be possible to move it to another location.

Now they are faced with the challenge of finding a new place to live — both are 76 — in a tough rental market in Penticton, which has a vacancy rate of less than one per cent.

"It's a bad feeling feeling all the way around," said Raymond Melatini.

"All the things that you think you have done right and everything that should be OK, are not and there isn't a thing that you can do about it." 

Stephen Tough, 80, has recently been diagnosed with cancer and must move his two RVs and lifetime of possessions off his lot at the Delta Mobile Home Park before October. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

The eviction notice residents received last week does not offer any assistance or provide a reason why the mobile home park is closing. And the residents said they had no idea they could be told to leave one day

The Delta Mobile Home Park is managed by Stanmar Services.

The owner of the property management company has not returned calls asking for comment.

The Metainis' neighbour, Stephen Tough has lived at the mobile home park for 15 years.

Tough, 80, who was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, has two RVs, a small add-on trailer and a workshop. He said he's looked for a new mobile home park with no success.

"I've talked to half a dozen [mobile home parks] from Osoyoos all the way up to Kelowna, and they are all the same. 'We don't have a place for you,'" he said.

A few doors down, Stew English is worried the work he has put into his lot over the past 26 years will be lost when he's forced to vacate five months from now.

English has cultivated an intricate garden filled with his artwork, including elaborate archways made from tree branches that line his lot.

'We are just devastated'

"It's hard to put it into words," he said fighting back tears.

"I think everybody here just wants a fair handshake on this, or help us get relocated."

Artist Stew English has cultivated a intricate garden on his plot at the mobile home park complete with a water feature and archways constructed of tree branches. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

CBC News has not yet reached the member of the Penticton Indian Band who owns the trailer park.

Georgine Melatini said she has contacted her MP's office as well as the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch, where she was informed the mobile home park does not fall under its jurisdiction because it is located on reserve land.

Last month, Premier John Horgan was in Penticton to announce legislation that would strengthen protections for owners of mobile homes including compensation and a 12-month notice period in the case of evictions.

A spokesperson for the ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing wrote in an email that those measures do not apply to the people living at the Delta Mobile Home Park because it is on reserve land.

"We are just devastated. We are speechless," said English.

"We are left alone here because we are on the reserve. We didn't realize how many rights we don't have."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brady Strachan

CBC Reporter

Brady Strachan is a CBC reporter based in Kelowna, B.C. Besides Kelowna, Strachan has covered stories for CBC News in Winnipeg, Brandon, Vancouver and internationally. Follow his tweets @BradyStrachan

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