The open sign at the Chakalaka restaurant near Ladysmith is no longer flashing and vehicles at the main entrance don’t appear welcome, but a co-owner says the attached market is still open.
It remains open despite an interim injunction granted by a BC Supreme Court Justice this morning, ordering the premises closed until it gets a COVID-19 safety plan approved by Island Health.
The Chakalaka restaurant must now disconnect drinking water and sewer connections to the 20 RVs on the property in a separate order.
“There’s nothing fair about this, [with] anything that they’re doing. They’re putting people out of water and without sewer,” said Dick Deschamps with Chakalaka restaurant.
Deschamps says the order gives him no other options.
Those living in RVs are also worried about the orders.
“It’s heartbreaking. It’s inhumane. There are 20 units here and some of them [contain] couples,” said Tanya Henn, an RV resident and tenant.
Henn says she’s on disability support and she moved her RV here a month ago.
She says with her RV being more than 10 years old it’s extremely difficult finding a place to park her home. She’s worried the injunction will mean she’ll have to move again.
“Do they want us to park on the highway and empty our septic systems on the highway or in a Walmart parking lot like I just don’t know? There’s not enough housing. the rentals are ridiculous pricing,” she told CHEK News.
The area is on well water and an aquifer. A neighbour who’s worried about the extra pressures the RVs place on drinking water and roads says she’s glad the injunction was granted.
“I’m happy to know they won’t be able to use the water and sewage anymore so that’s a really big thing for me,” said Nicole Irvine, a neighbour.
Deschamps says he realizes the orders require action immediately.
The court also ordered that the RCMP may arrest and remove from the property any person who fails to abide by the Orders of the Court.
Island Health first visited the property in September 2020 to investigate concerns about the RV hookups.
An unrelated inspection at the restaurant this year led to the COVID-19 safety order.
The Supreme Court Justice gave the restaurant’s owner an option to hire counsel and argue against the injunction but said paperwork needed to be filed within two weeks.