After an outcry from local businesses, BC Housing has decided to delay construction of a large housing complex for the homeless in Kelowna.
The 55-unit complex is planned to be built on a vacant plot of land in a commercial area off Enterprise Way.
Local businesses said they weren’t consulted. Their frustration peaked when they learned the complex was going to look like a large mobile home.
This week, city council decided to delay the development permit process after learning that BC Housing was going to come back with a more esthetically-pleasing proposal.
“We heard a lot of pushback from people in the area saying that this project was not acceptable and so I think it strikes a balance between an emerging need that we have in our community, but also trying to be good neighbours,” Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said.
BC Housing said it has heard from the local businesses and the message was loud and clear, saying: “Given the feedback we have received on the building design for the proposed project at Commerce Avenue, BC Housing will work on improving the appearance of the building, including landscaping, to address the concerns expressed by neighbouring businesses.”
Business owner Scott Gauthier says he’s relieved BC Housing is going back to the drawing board.
“I think that if you’re going to create that type of environment in the area you would definitely want something that would be esthetically pleasing.”
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Bonnie Wordsdall moved her business from downtown Kelowna because of the homelessness situation. She said BC Housing should make an effort to have the complex at least resemble the architecture in the area.
“Something that looks like an apartment possibly, if that’s what they want to do. Something that looks like the rest of the neighbourhood. Those containers do not fit. They look like they would be a garbage centre, not a home.”
BC Housing is expected to release its new and improved version of the complex early in the New Year.