2 suicides since eviction

Colton Davies

Two senior residents in Penticton's Delta Mobile Home Park, which is slated for redevelopment, have reportedly committed suicide in the past two weeks.

Stew English says one of those residents who committed suicide was his next-door neighbour in the park, which is located on Airport Road.

"His son told me, in the suicide note he left, he couldn't take the move anymore because he couldn't afford to move," English said. 

Residents were given eviction notices on April 30. English says at this point, he and most others will be faced with homelessness come Oct. 1 when they have to leave.

"There's people taking their lives in here, that's a lot to do with it. And it really hurts. Good friends too, you know?" he told Castanet, fighting back tears.

English has lived in the park for 26 years, and he currently pays $450 a month in pad rent for his trailer and a storage unit. He's a retired metal fabricator with an old age pension of $1,120 per month.

He says of the roughly 42 residents in the park, only four have found new places to live ahead of their eviction.

"We can't afford to go live anywhere else, because the rent and everything is so damn high today... So us low-income people, we're almost left hanging out in the cold."

The eviction notice was given in the same month Premier John Horgan was in the city, announcing legislation to better protect mobile home park tenants facing eviction.

However, provincial rules on residential tenancy don’t apply to the Delta Mobile Home Park, since it’s located on Penticton Indian Band locatee lands.

English says residents are desperate and hoping for financial support to help them move somewhere they can afford.

"We're just asking for some kind of compensation ... We know we can't stay, just help us relocate, that's all we're asking."

Park owner Fred Kruger says he wasn’t aware of the reported suicides in the park, and declined to comment on the situation.

Castanet has reached out to the federal government for input on the situation.

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