A local grocery store is staging a fundraiser this weekend for a family facing eviction from their home as a result of injuries suffered recently by a store employee.
The circumstances surrounding the injuries suffered by Janet MacMillan are among the topics under dispute between Janet and her husband James on one side and the owners of the Valleycliffe home they’ve been renting for the past three months on the other.
The MacMillans have filed for dispute resolution under the Residential Tenancy Act, and both sides have retained lawyers in the matter. Either way, the MacMillans and their two children, aged 5 years and 11 months, have been served 10 days’ notice of eviction and will likely have to be out by Nov. 11. They have told The Chief it’s likely they will not be able to come up with the money.
In part, the dispute involves a purported fall from a deck at the home. A District of Squamish building inspector last week visited the home and issued a “no occupancy” order for the deck, requiring the homeowners to make repairs to bring it up to B.C. Building Code, Christina Moore, DOS spokesperson, wrote in an email to The Chief on Friday (Oct. 26).
The two sides in the dispute provided widely divergent accounts of the situation to The Chief.
Because of her injuries — which included a concussion, a partially collapsed lung, nasal and cheek fractures — Janet MacMillan has been unable to work since early October and the couple says James, a construction contractor, has had to stay home to take care of the family.
The family moved to Squamish in early August and Janet, who had been on maternity leave until then, had just started a job at Save-On-Foods when she was injured in early October.
On Sunday (Nov. 4) from noon to 4 p.m., Save-On-Foods is having a fundraiser outside the store to help the family get through the ordeal. Hot dogs, chips and drinks will be available to those who make a donation. Cash donations for the MacMillans will also be accepted.
Janet MacMillan said she has been overwhelmed by the response of her employer and of the broader community to the family’s situation.
“I’ve worked there… two shifts before my accident, but these people have said, ‘You’re not going to lose your job, we know you’ve had an accident, how can we help you?’” she said.
“It’s definitely a terrible situation to be in,” Richard Morgadinho, operations manager at the store, said on Friday. “There are obviously some legal issues surrounding the property, but she is a team member of ours and a valued member of our community and we want to help out any way we can.”
Her neighbours, as well as the parents and staff of Valleycliffe Elementary School, have also been amazing, Janet said.
“I’m part of the PAC [parent advisory council] there and ever since the accident, people have been bringing meals in the house while I was in the hospital, offering to clean the house,” she said, adding that last week, school staff had a penny drive at the school and raised $100 for the family.
“We’ve only lived here for three months, but after the way people have treated us, we don’t ever want to leave.”