Canadian News Apr 14, 2020 1:00 PM EST

Complaints against houseboat may leave Ontario couple homeless

A couple living in a houseboat on a friend's farm in Picton, Ont., may soon be homeless after receiving news that they have to leave from by-law officer.

Complaints against houseboat may leave Ontario couple homeless
Quinn Patrick Montreal, QC
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A couple living in a houseboat that is set-up on a friend's farm in Picton, Ont., will soon be homeless after receiving news from Prince Edward County bylaw officers that they have to leave, according to Global News.

Kyle and Kathlene Mayne brought their houseboat from its usual home docked in Lake Ontario to a friend's farm just outside Picton in 2018.

“We live here for only half the year. In May, we live in a trailer at a Cherry Valley campground until the fall,” said Kyle. “Now that they’re closed because of the virus, we have to stay here.”

The Maynes were visited by bylaw officers at their houseboat last week to notify them that they are violating compliance with the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw and are required to leave the property must leave the property.

The Maynes said that they face a $1,000 fine if they don't abide by the order they’ve been issued, which requires them to leave in the next few weeks.

Andy Harrison is the chief of bylaw enforcement for the County and he said that while a secondary dwelling is allowed on the plot of land where the couple’s houseboat is parked, the home must be inhabited all year-round and therefore the dwelling must be built to meet all the requirements of the Ontario Building Code.

“Trailers or in this case a boat is not permitted to be used as a dwelling on that property,” wrote Harrison in an email. Harrison went on say that there had been complaints from a neighbour regarding the houseboat and that said complaints were the primary reason for the bylaw enforcement.

“I’m really upset and hurt with the community,” said Kathlene, regarding the neighbour's complaints.

Harrison stated that the owner of the property is also on the hook for the bylaw infraction, in addition to the Maynes.

“The owner of the property and the tenants may be charged with failing to comply with the zoning bylaw,” said Harrison, adding, "the fines can be very substantial.”

Kathlene Mayne said that the owner of the property, who is a friend of theirs, did not want to comment or appear on-camera.

The property owner will be penalized should the Maynes refuse to vacate, which Kyle and Kathleen say they don’t want to happen. The couple has already started packing up their belongings so that they may leave within the allotted window of time.

“I don’t want to be homeless but it looks like it’s coming down to that,” said Kathlene, who was sobbing during the interview. She was able to confirm that they have found another friend’s property where they can move their houseboat in Picton, but it's still not a longterm solution.

“Because of social distancing, we can’t live with family or friends. We might have to live in our car,” said Kathlene.

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