Nanaimo man returns from trip, finds 30 addicts in house
CanWest News Service
Thursday, August 16, 2007
NANAIMO -- When Tim Lander left for Europe there were only two tenants staying with him in his south Nanaimo home.
When he got back after three weeks, more than 30 heroin addicts had moved in and staked their claim on his turn-of-the-century house, dealing drugs and wreaking havoc on the neighbourhood.
The 69-year-old retiree is now in a battle to save his home from being deemed a nuisance property, but he says he will keep letting the city's poor live with him.
"I've got a house available," he said. "There are a lot of people who are cold and need a place to stay."
He's been opening his home to the homeless for several years, offering a place for them to sleep, have a shower or grab a quick meal from the pot of stew he keeps on his hot plate. Some have even set up tents in his front and back yards.
When Lander left to visit his brother and sister in Europe, he had no qualms about leaving his home open to two tenants who'd been staying with him. "When I got back, there were 30 people in here," he said. "All heroin users."
Since May 1, the RCMP have responded to 11 calls about his home, including alleged drug use, trafficking, disturbances and theft.
This week, council members gave him one month to get the disturbances in check or his home will be declared a nuisance property -- which means any police calls will be charged to him.
Neighbour Joe Wiesner is fed up with Lander's charitable nature.
He said constant traffic could devalue neighbouring properties. He also suspected prostitutes were coming and going from the home during Lander's absence.