(Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS) Johanna Buschau is fighting eviction from Haney Pioneer Village Co-op

To save her son, Maple Ridge mom broke the rules, now looking for a home

General membership votes Sept. 27 on whether she can keep living there

Johanna Buschau had a decision to make – keep her place at Haney Pioneer Village Co-op with its cheap rent, or save her son.

She chose the latter, and unless she can convince most of the other 83 residents otherwise on Sept. 27, she’ll pay for her choice by losing her home.

“I let my son in to save my son’s life and now I’m being evicted,” Buschau said.

She has been renting a one-bedroom unit in the co-op on 230th Street in Maple Ridge for four years, and during that time said she has had her son stay with her overnight once in a while.

Her son has diabetes, along with mental health issues. He stayed with her there for a month, with permission of management, in 2014. This year, she said, he’s stayed overnight five times.

Buschau knows that contradicts an order from the board last year banning her son from the premises, but says he hasn’t caused any problems with the neighbours. She said he sometimes yells and swears, but that’s indoors and she wonders how others can hear that in the rancher co-op complex.

She adds, “there have been times when things get out of hand and I have to call police.”

A year ago, in August 2016, she was told that her son can’t visit the premises. That was followed by another letter this April saying that he can no longer enter her home, effectively immediately.

Co-op policies state that no one should cause a disturbance or cause distress to others.

Buschau was also asked to get a protection order in July against her son to keep him from visiting. She did that and the board wrote to her on July 31, saying it was pleased that she did that.

But that night her son showed up again, she said, on fentanyl.

“As I opened the door, he collapsed into the doorway.”

Buschau, who is a licenced practical nurse, took him in to save his life. He slept for 26 hours straight.

“He was just really run down. I had to make a decision that night on whether to break a rule or save his life. Do you understand now why I had to save his life?”

She met with the board on Aug. 17, but the next day received a letter from the board saying she had to vacate her suite by Sept. 30.

She appealed that decision, then got a letter telling her of the general meeting Sept. 27, when she can appeal her eviction before the general membership.

That letter from the co-op’s board of directors cites a co-op a policy that says no one should cause any distress to anyone and that she has allowed her son, despite repeated warnings, to attend the premises, where he has “continued to cause disturbances,” which is against the occupancy agreement.

Buschau says the stress is getting to her and she can’t sleep and cries a lot and says she feels isolated in the complex.

Late Wednesday, someone posted a picture of her son in the co-op hall with the words below reading, “If you see this person, call 911.”

She feels that people should know about this.

“I’ll be homeless. Everything that is for rent, is over $1,000 a month. I can’t afford it. I’m a senior and I’m going to be homeless and I have no place to go.”

Geoffrey Dabbs, lawyer for the housing co-op, said that Buschau had agreed that she wouldn’t allow him to come back, but then kept allowing him to return causing “further disturbances.”

Buschau said her son is now in drug treatment for a year and is doing well.