May 9, 2019 7:13 pm
Updated: May 9, 2019 8:48 pm

Neighbours concerned about proposed migrant worker camp in Kelowna


Some residents in a Kelowna neighbourhood say their property values are going to drop, and that the area will no longer be safe, if a proposed migrant housing camp is approved.

The proposed camp would be in the Hartman and Gibson road area above Rutland, where neighbours are rallying to put a stop to the proposal.

READ MORE: B.C. fruit growing industry tackles migrant worker labour issues

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Natalia Strauch is one of those concerned neighbours. Her house is right across the street from the proposed work camp. She says it’s going to lower her home value.

“It’s dropping off,” Strauch said. “How much? Maybe $100,000?”

Chris Rantucci lives next door to Strauch. He says bringing migrant workers to the neighbourhood will be a safety concern.

“I haven’t encountered anything, but we have some older ladies down the road, where they’ve been walking and kind of harassed a little bit and also younger women,” Rantucci said.

WATCH BELOW (Aired Aug. 8, 2017): Migrant worker attacks West Kelowna woman in her home

Olga Stuhlburg lives in the neighbourhood and says she won’t feel safe if the migrant workers move in.

“I’m by myself in the house and I’m very unsecure if there are so many people here and I don’t know them,” Stuhlburg said.

“I’m not saying they’re bad people, but I don’t know these people.”

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The manager of the orchard says their intent is to house 70 to 80 workers at the camp in eight trailers, and that all of them are checked for a criminal background before entering the country.

“To me, I don’t think it’s fair to say that just because they come from a different country that’s unsafe, because you could be dealing with unsafe conditions in any community,” Prab Sandher said.

The City of Kelowna says Sandher’s application is still at the preliminary stage before it reaches council, and that’s several weeks away.

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