Bowing to community pressure, Kelowna city council has announced a few changes to the operating model of a proposed housing project in Rutland.
Residents of the 49-unit building in the works for McCurdy Rd. at Rutland Rd. will sign an agreement committing to not use drugs on site. The facility will also not host an overdose prevention location.
The amendments to the agreement between the city and BC Housing were announced at a special council meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
While most councillors were supportive of making the facility ‘dry’, councilor Charlie Hodge stated he still believed the facility has too many units, is in the wrong location and does not have the support it needs to operate.
“We are at war with opiods on our streets,” Hodge said.
Hodge said despite fear mongering about the facility in the neighbourhood, he believed council needs to listen to the public’s concerns.
His attempt to repeal the original zoning vote was unsuccessful at the end of the meeting.
Councilor Mohini Singh believes the community needs to lobby for more supportive housing with services that support residents.
While recognizing her own comments on the facility haven’t been very popular in the community, councilor Gail Given said solving the city’s homeless problem requires getting people the support they need.
“Every apartment building in the city is a wet facility,” Given stated, soliciting a sea of groans from the public gallery.
Given said there are drugs in every apartment building in the city and having drugs in the McCurdy Rd. facility would be no different.
The new agreement for 130 McCurdy Rd. includes a nurse be at the supportive housing site seven days a week and additional staff and security be available for the first six months to “ensure a smooth integration.”