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West Kelowna  

Picker 'out of her mind'

A West Kelowna farmer says he did everything he could to provide a safe and healthy work environment for a woman he believes had a mental breakdown when she attacked a neighbouring home owner.

Brante Farrell said one of his employees at Westbank Harvest, a migrant worker from Brazil, went missing Saturday night, and he contacted police.

The 24-year-old woman walked about a mile and was found naked, yelling at a family's dog on Scharf Road Sunday afternoon. She broke through the front door and fought with the mother before barricading herself in a shed.

Farrell said she was “out of her mind." He wants her taken in for a mental health assessment.

“I don’t want anyone to have any doubts about safety of the environment that we provide,” he said Tuesday.

Farrell said migrant workers are “good people, coming from other countries to work in Canada.

“What the issue is... is drug sellers, local landlords who do not care for their workers, and landlords that do not have proper housing for year-round tenants."

West Kelowna Bylaw Enforcement says it's "very aware" of conflict between neighbours on Scharf Road, largely stemming from observed illegal activities and concern about living conditions of farm workers, but criminal and traffic offences should be referred to the RCMP.

“I am fully aware that we have at the opposite end of the street, issues for the last 10 years with drug abuse and a house that has been known to house drug addicts and drug sellers for many years,” said Farrell.

Ninety per cent of Westbank Harvest's workers are repeat staff, but this woman had only worked at the farm for a few months. Farrell said she agreed to a no drugs, alcohol or smoking policy.

The family said a bag left at the top of their driveway contained the woman's identification and drug paraphernalia.

The woman was expected to appear in court Tuesday, but was taken to hospital. Police have yet to comment on the case.



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