A residence on Nickel Road in Kelowna has been making headlines as a problem house with several appearances by the RCMP over the last year.
Property owner Amit Chopra lives out of town and said his message to city council and the Kelowna mayor three weeks ago went unanswered.
Chopra said he bought the house about a year ago and at the time it was supposed to be vacant, but since the purchase, he has been challenged by squatters causing a nuisance in the neighbourhood.
He has been contacting RCMP since April to assist in removing the squatters. “Police did what they could, but they also kind of offered us no help.”
After failed attempts to gain assistance from police or the city, Chopra said he called up mayoral candidate David Habib less than a week ago after hearing Habib might be able to offer some advice on how to handle the situation.
“My ultimate goal was to get my place back… The house had become a nuisance to the whole neighbourhood as it became the centre of illegal activity, prostitution, you name it. Everything was going on there. Our city is not helping me, RCMP is not helping me, so I asked David to help me out. I’m lucky that I called.”
With Chopra residing elsewhere he granted Habib and friends in the construction industry permission to act on his behalf and go to 235 Nickel Road on Sept. 19, to board up the windows.
Capital News was on scene while crews boarded up all but the front door and then patiently negotiated with the squatters for more than an hour on a timeline to vacate the property.
Kelowna RCMP arrived to ensure the matter was civil, leaving just minutes later as no one exhibited any signs of aggression.
The meeting concluded with handshakes and an agreement to give the squatters ten days to remove themselves from the property.
Chopra said he couldn’t be happier with the outcome. “Without any violence, without any confrontation, we reached an agreement. What better could you ask for? The cops couldn’t get it done nor could the city could get it done. It’s David who got it done and I’m really thankful.”
Chopra said removing the squatters wasn’t just for him, it was for the whole community.
He plans on being at the residence in ten days alongside RCMP to ensure everyone has left the home.
At this time, Chopra says he doesn’t know what the future of the property will be.