June 21, 2019 8:09 pm
Updated: June 21, 2019 8:35 pm

Controversy continues over proposed supportive housing complex in Kelowna


Protesters against a proposed supportive housing development in Kelowna’s Rutland neighbourhood continue to voice their concerns.

On Monday, council approved a four-storey apartment building with 49 supportive housing units.

“The time to complain is over. We have a plan, and I applaud those who are getting behind the plan and helping us achieve that,” Mayor Colin Basran said.

Only Coun. Charlie Hodge voted against the motion, although others also voiced concern.

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READ MORE: Kelowna neighbours speak out against supportive housing project

“I would appeal to the operator to be extremely mindful of safety and security of the area,” Coun. Mohini Singh said.

“We really need BC Housing and we really need the operator to make sure this functions well and there’s a plan — a proactive plan instead of a reactive plan in terms of handling this,” Coun. Brad Sieben added.

Although the project was originally proposed as a dry facility, drugs and alcohol will now be allowed.

“It really feels that our concerns are falling on deaf ears,” Rutland resident Chrissy Lwowski said. “These facilities are needed. But not within the proximity of schools, the Kelowna Family YMCA and the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club.”

READ MORE: Town hall on controversial Kelowna housing project draws large crowd

Cannabis stores in Kelowna need to be 150 metres from elementary schools and 500 metres from secondary schools. Residents want to see the same kind of requirements for wet supportive housing complexes.

“They won’t approve pot shops around locations around children. I don’t understand how that is any better than what this is. To me, what we’re subjecting the kids to here is far worse,” Rutland resident Daryl Kitsul said.

In addition, Rutland residents believe their neighbourhood has already taken on more than its fair share of supportive housing facilities.

“Rutland has taken on more than half the homeless out of downtown, and the problem is still going on. It’s getting worse,” Rutland resident Christopher Bocskei said.

READ MORE: Kelowna residents opposed to wet facility threaten legal action

About a dozen people from the nearby Sikh temple also said they were against the supportive housing project’s location.

“We don’t want it near the temple or near the school,” Okanagan Sikh Temple director Hardev Singh said.

The Knights of Columbus sold the land to the developer and will receive a new hall in return.

Shortly after council gave the project the green light, the non-profit organization said construction would begin shortly.

“Neighbours have a misunderstanding about what the project’s all about. If they would have listened to what we had at open houses, they would have got the real story, instead of the wrong attitude,” said Peter Zazuliak, Columbus Hall Society’s president.

WATCH: (Aired June 16, 2019) Members of Kelowna’s Rutland community are up in arms over a proposed supportive housing project in their neighbourhood.

BC housing is holding a neighbourhood information session on Wednesdsay at Rutland’s Centennial Hall at 5:30 p.m.

The project is expected to be complete by spring 2021.

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