Mess irritates neighbours

A group of neighbours in a rural area north of Keremeos are exasperated with an unsightly property that's been a nuisance for years.

The property on White Lake Road contains multiple RVs, shacks and tons of debris. It is home to two men who have lived on the lot for years without running water or septic services.

“It's a garbage dump,” described a neighbour, who Castanet is keeping anonymous for her safety.

She said simmering conflicts between the men — who own the property — and the neighbours boiled over this week when thousands of screws were scattered on White Lake Road.

“I’ve got about 50-100 in my tires,” the neighbour said, adding at least four neighbours' vehicles had their tires filled with the screws. “It’s just one thing in a long list of many things.”

Another area resident tells Castanet the property has been a problem for the entire ten years he’s lived on White Lake Road, and the authorities never seem to do anything about it.

“Those guys, it’s just constant worry all summer long that they are going to burn the place down and cause a forest fire,” he said, explaining the area is outside fire protection.

He added guests that frequent the property are often seen driving slowly down the road, leading neighbours to think they are scoping out the neighbourhood.

“It forces us to make sure we can take stuff into our own hands,” he said, referring to the lack of police presence in the rural area. “It just goes on.”

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen bylaw enforcement manager Laura Miller, who recently took over the position, says the property has been on their radar for some time now. Interior Health is aware of the lack of running water and septic services as well, she said.

The RCMP also frequent the property, and one of the occupants is well known to police.

“There is a slew of people that are aware of this property,” Miller said. “Unfortunately the neighbours are bearing the brunt of all the issues out there and it seems like bureaucracy takes a long time.”

Miller is preparing a report on the property to bring the matter before the board, who will be able to vote on ordering a cleanup within 30 days or RDOS crews will move in and bill the owners.

“Something has to be done,” she said. “I would feel the same way if I live out there.”

Miller noted, however, that there are numerous similar properties that also require enforcement.

“There is a huge amount of work (across the region,” she said. “A huge amount of complaints.”

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