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$24 million building in Kelowna being converted to homeless shelter

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The 89,000 square foot former B.C. Tree Fruits building, next to the Tolko Mill site in Kelowna’s North End, is being converted into a homeless shelter.

B.C. Housing made the announcement today, June 22.

It will be run by the Kelowna Gospel Mission that operates a shelter from its property on Leon Avenue as well as one at 550 Doyle Ave.

“The new shelter will have approximately 60 individual sleeping pods to provide guests with privacy, as well as shared washrooms, storage space and other amenities,” a news release issued by the province says. “Renovations are underway to convert the existing building into a shelter and are expected to be complete in September 2022.”

The new shelter will be staffed 24 hours a day and provide meal services, laundry, security and support with accessing health and wellness services, the release says.

It will replace the shelter the Gospel Mission currently operates in the former Kelowna Courier building at 550 Doyle. That site is going to be redeveloped for the new UBCO downtown campus and two highrises to be built by the Mission Group.

In December, the Mission Group bought the B.C. Tree Fruits warehouse, at 858 Ellis St. for $24 million that will now house the homeless shelter.

READ MORE: $24M sale of Kelowna waterfront property will trigger hundreds of millions in economic impact

A planning process is underway for the redevelopment of the 40-acre former Tolko mill site that borders on the almost four-acre B.C. Tree Fruits site.

Details of that plan are expected to be released this fall with the final plan adopted next spring.

The release doesn’t say how long the lease is for the building but a Mission Group posting offering the site for lease says it will be for two years then month-to-month after that.

READ MORE: Planners for Kelowna’s Tolko site could look to this massive Burnaby project for ideas

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