Letters of the week – Aug. 4

Senior rent increases and McLean Mill spurred on letters to the editor this week.

Seniors don’t deserve rent fiasco

To the Editor,

I write this letter with great disappointment for how our local seniors at the Pioneer Cottages are treated. I have to ask who exactly is in charge of this whole fiasco.

I am appalled at the bullying tactics used to try and raise the rent an unreasonable amount. In fact they were asked to pay a whopping 26 per cent increase and they also pay extra for Shaw cable, which is currently included in the rental agreement.

The legal rental increase through the Landlord Tenant Act is 2.9 per cent.

I have never seen such a poor way of dealing with a financial shortfall that was made by the powers in charge and now put upon the shoulders of our seniors.

I was told by one of them that they were told the responsibility was the renters and no one else. How does that work? If I buy a rental and rent it out and mismanage it and end up not having enough to cover taxes and other bills, is that not my responsibility?

Yes, I think so.

This is no way to treat anyone let alone these people who had nothing to do with the managing of monies for the cottages. They faithfully pay their rent each month as they must and the running of the cottages is up to management, including how bills get paid.

It isn’t only finances that were the problem. There are many other issues resulting from mismanagement.

We as family are very angry for all the grief they have caused my mom and the others living there. We are truly disappointed that they are being caused such stress and fear at this stage in their lives.

How would board members all feel if it was their own mom, dad or grandparent that was being treated in such an appalling way? I really hope the Alberni Valley Senior’s Home Society thinks about the sad way they have spoken to and treated these people.

Who owns these cottages and who actually is in charge? I’d like to chat with them.

Vittoria Doughty,

Port Alberni

(Editor’s note: Vittoria Doughty has a relative who lives in Pioneer Cottages)

 

‘Rent we pay is in line with other places’

To the Editor,

Lately there has been a lot in the paper about the senior cottages on 10th Avenue. Some of the information has come from board members. I would like to express my opinion as a resident.

The dispute started at the end of September 2015, when a special meeting of the residents was called. At that time we were told that the Alberni Valley Seniors Citizens Homes Society was no longer eligible for the Permissive Tax Exemption. We were asked to pay an additional $100 per month to compensate for this new expense.

During the question period the tenants were told the society wasn’t covered by the Landlord Tenant Act, and could raise the rent any amount, which proved to be untrue.

The tenants were bullied, intimidated and shown very little respect during this meeting.

One board member made the remark, ‘I know a lot of you have money’, which could be true but was totally uncalled for. I know that there are a few of us that only have our pension income.

On Dec. 31, 2015 we received a notice of rent increase in an amount specified by the Residential Tenancy Branch; it took effect in April 2016.

On July 20 the tenants were invited to another meeting with another request for a voluntary rent increase of $159.05 per month to take effect Jan. 1, 2017. Another violation, as rent can only be increased once a year.

We were also given a proposed Capital Replacement Reserve Fund outlining costs to replace everything in each unit, including cabinets and countertops in both the kitchen and bathroom.

On this list is microwaves. Several people have already had to replace their own as the society will not. This too is in violation of the Residential Tenancy Act.

The board seems to think we are old and senile and don’t know these things. Unfortunately, no one has grieved this matter yet.

These units are one bedroom and approximately 550 square feet, so the rent we pay is in line with other places of the same size.

Lynn McKay,

tenant,

Pioneer Cottages,

Port Alberni

 

To the Editor,

I would like to thank the “Our Town” team for choosing to hold the latest event at the McLean Mill. It was such a pleasure to see so many people (it had to be over 500) enjoying the site.

I watched many people enjoying parts of the site that were not set up as part of the event, which led me to believe they may have been enjoying the mill for the first time.

I had people tell me it was the best “Our Town” ever.

Thank you to all of the sponsors that support “Our Town” events and thank you to the city for sponsoring a sold out steam train.

I’m looking forward to hosting an event here again next year.

Ken Rutherford,

acting manager,

McLean Mill,

Port Alberni

 

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