A controversial supportive housing facility proposed for Kelowna’s Rutland neighbourhood has many residents worried about the safety of children in the area.
The wet facility, which would allow drugs and alcohol, is causing concern because of its close proximity to several schools. It’s located at the corner of McCurdy and Rutland roads.
“This is about protecting our children,” Rutland resident Audra Boudreau said.
Residents have recently turned out in droves to protest the project.
Most recently, local residents, Boudreau and Christopher Bocskei, met with Mayor Colin Basran to voice concern.
Boudreau said many of her concerns stem from what’s happening a few blocks away near Heath House, which is also a wet supportive housing facility.
“We communicated to him what those residents have gone through, with people breaking down their fences and shooting up on their back porches while they’re at home,” she said. “Trying to break into their homes while they’re at home.
“That is a neighbourhood that’s been held hostage.”
“Wet housing is not dry housing. They are allowed to do drugs. They need to feed those habits somehow, and they feed them on the neighbouring residents,” Boudreau said.
WATCH BELOW (Aired June 16, 2019): Kelowna neighbours speak out against supportive housing project
The pair said they took several possible solutions forward to the mayor.
“Given the area and the housing crisis that has happened for so many in this city, low-income family housing would be a perfect option,” she added.
“It’s a great location for a dry facility, or how about a single-parent facility, a place for single moms, low-income housing? There are other options for an area in such close proximity to our schools,” Bocskei said.
The mayor could not be reached for comment, but Boudreau is optimistic Basran will consult with council and BC Housing.
In the meantime, Rutland residents have started a petition.
By collecting enough signatures on the petition, residents are hoping that officials will consider altering the wet facility to a place where drugs and alcohol aren’t allowed.
Excavators are already working on the site, and the project is expected to be up and running by the spring of 2021.
WATCH BELOW: Extended interview from June 25, 2019: Mayor Basran answers questions about supportive housing in Rutland