05/11/2013 14:28 EDT | Updated 07/11/2013 05:12 EDT

Okanagan town seeks better relations with seasonal fruit pickers

The B.C. town of Oliver is hoping to defuse the tension between local residents and seasonal fruit pickers by hiring a new French-Canadian bylaw officer.

Every spring and summer hundreds of Quebeckers like Juan Cuevias travel to the Okanagan for the seasonal work, and some say they have experienced discrimination.

"People just look at us like we're not clean because we don't have the showers and they look at us and say like, 'Get a job!'" said Cuevias, who now calls the Okanagan home.

The new bylaw officer, Marie Roberge, agrees some fruit pickers do experience discrimination from local residents. Roberge also grew up in Quebec, but has lived in Oliver for 10 years.

Her main task will be to work as a liaison between French-speaking pickers and disgruntled residents. She says many local residents often don't understand the fruit picker's lifestyle of hitch-hiking and camping out, and she's hoping she can help improve the relationship in her new role.

In one recent letter to a local paper one person complained they were "polluting beaches with tobacco, marijuana, and noise."

Marie Roberge is hoping she can help change this attitude in her new role as bylaw officer.

"I just want to give a better image of Quebeckers in front of the town and for everybody," she said.