Six people living at the Seabreeze Inne on Salt Spring Island are the centre of legal action in a BC Supreme court room.
At issue is the future of a local motel, which the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation bought back in March 2022 with plans to convert it into staff housing.
But it can’t do that until the occupants are gone, according to the foundation’s executive director Roberta Martell.
“We’re here seeing an injunction asking the court to remove these folks in the interim so we can get on with the renovations to create much-needed hospital staff housing,” Martell said.
Now, the building is needed to house hospital staff in a tight housing market. There are currently 44 staff vacancies at Lady Minto, with that number expected to increase.
The Hospital Foundation wants to renovate the Seabreeze Inne into staff housing with 25 units in hopes of attracting new workers.
But the last remaining residents are fighting to stay.
The lawyer representing the people living in the Seabreeze Inne, Julia Riddle, told the court that the dispute has dragged on for months. And all her clients want is to live in their apartments, which they haven’t been able to do in peace for months.
The foundation will pay all expenses for a move to King’s Lane, with emergency housing in trailers on the Island.
“So these six people are blocking 25 units of housing. There are currently people on Salt Spring Island living in tents, boats, and cars, and the forest who would consider this wonderful housing,” Martell said.
A BC Supreme Court justice is expected to decide on the injunction sometime this week.
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