Police, fire, bylaw descend on Kelowna problem house for 'inspection'

Officers at problem house

Madison Erhardt

UPDATE: 6 p.m.

RCMP, city bylaw and the Kelowna Fire Department descended on 235 Nickel Road Thursday afternoon to conduct what police are calling an inspection.

City crews entered the home and cleared out over half a dozen residents inside to conduct their search, along with one dog and cat.

Kelowna bylaw, police officers and the fire department were inside the home for over one hour.

At this time it isn’t confirmed what exactly crews were looking for, however, after speaking with the city's Property Standards Compliance Team on Wednesday, Castanet learned that the home has a number of fire and safety concerns.

A neighbour across from 235 says his family will be moving from their home at the end of the month due to safety concerns.

The neighbour, who wants to remain anonymous for their safety, tells Castanet that close to 20 people are seen entering and exiting the home daily.

“We are all sick of it. Just nothing is being done about it. It is pretty disturbing watching every day. People get beat... people dying from overdose, people coming and going, buying and selling drugs, stolen bikes, stolen cars, and prostitution. I mean you name it we witness it all,” the neighbour said.

Castanet has reached out to the Kelowna RCMP for comment.

ORIGINAL 4: a.m.

The problems continue at a home along Nickel Road in Rutland.

Over the past several months, RCMP, city bylaw, the Kelowna Fire Department and paramedics have been called to 235 Nickel Road for a variety of incidents involving drug overdoses, assault and firearm sightings.

Kelowna RCMP Const. Mike Della-Paolera says the residence has kept police busy.

"I can confirm the police are very much aware of the residence and its reputation but can not comment on any active investigations at this time. The residence has generated multiple files this year alone. I will not provide numbers, but I assure you it's far more than the average place. These files do involve anything from criminal investigations, medical calls and support for Kelowna bylaws," he said.

Castanet has heard from neighbours, who fear speaking publicly, that are exasperated with the situation.

In Kelowna, the Property Standards Compliance Team sees city staff, bylaw offices, firefighters and police team up to deal with problem properties.

The team's chair, Ken Hunter, says they triage problem properties with four criteria.

"We take into consideration the history and what kind of consumptions or resources are being utilized, the complexity of the issues, the impact on the neighbourhood and the severity of it. You can see that 235 is checking a few boxes here," Hunter said.

He says the property came to the team's attention back in May.

"We have inspected it and we are working with the current ownership that is in the Lower Mainland right now. They are very cooperative and motivated to come into compliance and do something about the problem."

Hunter says there are currently fire and safety concerns on the property.

"There are also building concerns and there is an issue with zoning which we are addressing as we speak. The occupants of that house are before the provincial tenancy branch. We have to let the process play out. We will continue to monitor and hold the owner responsible and any activity that is occurring there from the tenancy responsible as well," Hunter added.

Hunter says in talks with the current owner he believes there is a desire to redevelop the property.

On Friday, police descended on the notorious drug house after reports of two people overdosing. Paramedics administered naloxone to one of the residents, who was combative when brought back.

Della-Paolera said because the residence is "known to police," RCMP showed up in numbers for officer safety reasons.

On July 16, police were called to the home after reports a potential airsoft gun had been fired.
Nobody was injured in the incident.

On April 30, a man was brutally beaten with a baseball bat outside the home. When police arrived a man was located inside the home suffering minor injuries from an assault related to the use of bear spray. Police said Wednesday that incident is still under investigation.

Madison Erhardt

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