Low barrier facility in Downtown Kelowna now operational

The temporary homeless shelter will be located at 555 Fuller Avenue, beside the Royal Canadian Legion branch along Doyle Avenue. Google Maps

Two weeks after the new bridge-housing facility, a wet shelter, opened in Kelowna’s Downtown, neighbours say they haven’t experienced any problems.

The wet facility located at 555 Fuller Avenue, opened with the goal to help people transition from overnight shelters to more permanent social housing. While neighbouring residents have had mixed reactions, some like Darion Rae, a Kelowna resident haven’t had an issue with its arrival in his neighbourhood. 

“It’s been pretty tame, nothing has really changed,” said Rae. “Anyone I know that lives around here too, hasn’t said anything.”

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However, some residents say they are on clean up duty.

“There’s been a lot more activity, people go through our garbage cans when we leave them out,” said Seith Mack. “Just making a mess, it’s been dirtier.”

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Living a few doors down from the facility, Holly Foale hasn’t had any issues since the facilities opening.

“There has been no new activity, we’ve had no troubles with anybody,” said Foale. “Actually we haven’t seen anybody. It’s been business as usual.”

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After opening his bar, Flash Social House five years ago, on St. Paul Street, Heith Martin is now a neighbour to the wet housing shelter and says he has had no issues so far.

“Other than the people bringing their bottles in down on St. Paul’s there, I haven’t noticed anything else,” said Martin.

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The City of Kelowna says Recreation Park is no longer sustainable and it removed most of the services there such as the warming tents and storage containers on Monday, Dec. 23. 

The city has said the total operational cost for the two park sites so far is approximately $100,000.  When asked when the sites will be closed, the city said, “we will be keeping them open for the foreseeable future.”

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The city says until they have complete confidence that the parks are not needed, they will remain in place.

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