A Burnaby co-op resident says she is facing an unfair eviction from the co-op's board of directors.
Cindy Hicks has lived at the Hillside Place Housing Co-op for 18 years, but has been told by the board of directors she must move out by Nov. 1
But Hicks says it has never been explained to her why she is being kicked out, other than that she owes money.
"My question has always been: 'What is this extra money for?' ... That's my question today. Please, just look at the papers and tell me what I owe," she said. "It doesn't seem to be as much about the money as it is about getting rid of Cindy."
Hillside Place's board voted 5-4 to evict Hicks on Oct. 18 after she was late to a court date regarding her eviction.
Hicks said she was sexually assaulted while on the job and become unable to work seven years ago. During that time she fell behind three months in payments. But, understanding her situation, the co-op board of directors allowed her to pay off the arrears with her social assistance payments at $25 a month until the debt was settled, or at least that's what she thought.
"She paid off $3,000 and when she thought she was finished, she was told 'No, your balance is $1,800 because of participation fees," said Leonard Haggstrom, a board member who voted against the eviction.
Participation fees are charged to residents who do not fulfill work obligations to the co-op, but Haggstrom said Hicks has maintained the co-op's gardens for years.
"She's known as the plant lady," he said.
During recent renovations all of the complex's plants were likely to be uprooted.
"She took in every plant that belongs to the co-op, took care of them and replanted them when the work was done. And yet that year, she was charged $100 for participation points."
The problem was that the Hicks failed to document the work, Haggstrom said.
The board also spent close to $10,000 hiring a lawyer, who advised them it was their "fiduciary responsibility" to evict, which Haggstrom called a waste.
"I don't think we should throw $10,000 at a $25 a month problem," he said. "It's throwing good money after bad."
Actually carrying out the eviction and hiring a sheriff will likely cost thousands more, Haggstrom added.
Now her supporters are trying everything at their disposal to keep Hicks in the co-op, including attempts to fire the board of directors, going door-to-door to collect donations and even threatening to block sheriffs from evicting her on Thursday.
"She's well liked. Her kids grew up here. So when we went around knocking on doors trying to raise the money, it was parents of her kids' friends," he said. "They're really angry. There's talk of firing the board of directors. The board of directors has to live here. They have to walk up and down the streets."
The board's chair was not available for comment Friday afternoon.