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News for December 8, 2021

Evictions Postponed At British Columbia Motel, Campground

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The British Columbia Residential Tenancy Branch. has granted reprieve to long-term residents of Penticton’s motel and campground that were due to be evicted on Aug. 1. 

Occupants of the 17-unit Ogopogo Motel and attached 28-stall Riverside RV Park were given just six weeks’ notice to vacate after the 2.3-hectare property, which stretches between Riverside Drive and Wylie Street, was targeted for redevelopment by a new owner.

Azura Management, the new owner of the property, issued the notices under the B.C. Hotel Keepers Act, silent on evictions, except for the authorization of immediate expulsions of guests causing disruptions.

The Residential Tenancy Branch believes that Ogopogo Motel guests fall under the Residential Tenancy Act. This requires four months’ notice to renounce, but the campground is covered under the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Action. It requires twelve months’ notice and $20,000 for each unit.

The Residential Tenancy Branch’s Compliance and Enforcement Unit is handling the matter. It stated in a statement that it is fully engaged and working to protect the rights of landlords and tenants.

It was also stated that the property owner had “expressed a willingness to work with the branch in order to ensure that the evictions take place properly.”

Ewen Stewart, president of Azura Management, stated that he disagrees about the applicable legislation but is still participating in the process.

Stewart stated that most residents are already gone and that Stewart is optimistic that those remaining will move out before September ends, once the tourism season slows down and there are more accommodations available.

He said, “Most people are cooperating and have common sense. They are moving forward.”

One tenant said that they were told that tenants in the motel must be out by November 31st, but that if they leave before September 31, they can remain rent-free until then.

“Do I accept the two months of free moving money or do I pay rent until November?” What will I do? The tenant spoke under anonymity because there is nothing to rent.

Azura has not stopped Azura’s progress with the preliminary work necessary for the redevelopment site. The city proactively rezoned the site in 2011 to allow high-density housing towers of up to 15 stories.

A drilling crew visited the site on Thursday to take soil samples. A tree removal company was also present nearby, working among the rubbish bins scattered all over the property.

Stewart is eager to get started because he plans to preload the site with piles of sand to force out water and stabilize the soil. This could take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to complete.

Stewart says that plans for the redevelopment are still in the works and will be influenced partly by the results of soil tests. Stewart’s company also developed Riverside townhouses next to the motel.

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