Opponents of a proposed supportive housing project in Kelowna have summed up how they feel in four words: “Right project, wrong place.”
B.C. Housing would like to build a 52-unit housing project for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless. The project would be built at 2025 Agassiz Road, which is located near Orchard Plaza Shopping Centre.
According to a press release sent to Global news, area residents are in opposition to the wet facility and have formed a neighbourhood alliance. Those residents will be holding an open-house protest gathering at the Ramada Hotel on Thursday, November 8th, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The release also said, in point form, that:
- Seniors will be protesting the “institutional abuse” by B.C. Housing on Thursday;
- Intelligent, bold & respectful decisions are encouraged from municipal leaders.
- The neighbourhood would welcome a second-stage housing for women and children.
The press release also said “residents of Kelowna’s Ambrosi and Barlee neighbourhood gathered on October 13th, to discuss B.C. Housing’s plans for harm reduction supportive housing (wet facility) at 2025 Agassiz Road. The meeting was attended by 247 people including 229 local residents and business owners. One hundred and 97 attendees registered their objection to the proposed development. No local residents or business owners registered support to the proposal.”
The release also responded to the question of NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard).
“It is our strong opinion that buildings that will likely house significant numbers of high-risk offenders, users of heroin and crack cocaine and individuals dealing with serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia should not be placed in high density neighbourhoods, especially those that house large numbers of vulnerable seniors.
“Residents all across Kelowna should be alarmed at the precedent that would be set by proceeding with this project, in this location. Existing supportive housing projects in Kelowna have been located intelligently in a manner that minimizes any negative impact on the neighbourhoods. That pattern is about to be blown out of the water.
“We are fully supportive of the City of Kelowna’s Journey Home strategy and are more than willing to do our part in the realization of this strategy. Our criticism of B.C. Housing’s methods is not criticism of the Journey Home goals, but a challenge to implement the strategy intelligently and holistically, rather than in a piecemeal fashion.
“The evidence shows very clearly that while the planned combination of building and operator may be a right project for the strategy, that this is the wrong place for its implementation. One of the many other projects to be built as part of the Journey Home strategy, such as the recently announced Kelowna Women’s Shelter second-stage housing for women and their children project should be built here.”