UPDATE: Another supportive housing project planned for Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Another supportive housing project planned for Kelowna

A supportive housing project that may be similar to Hearthstone, pictured in this file photo, is proposed for Rutland.
January 18, 2019 - 9:53 AM

KELOWNA - A new supportive housing project announced for Rutland shortly after the Agassiz housing project was approved by Kelowna City Council does not need rezoning and, therefore, does not need to seek public input, according to B.C. Housing.

Still, an open house will be held for neighbours from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 29 at Rutland Centennial Hall in order to "engage with neighbours, answer questions and provide information about the project, to ensure the project is a success for the entire community," states an email from B.C. Housing media relations officer Melanie Kilpatrick.

The new project is slated for 280 McIntosh Rd. and will provide 50 units of housing for the homeless. It’s off Asher Road near Rutland Centennial Park.

Construction is expected to start this spring for completion in the fall. That timeline is contingent on getting permits approved by the city.

"We know homelessness is a problem that has been ignored for too long in the region and around the province,” Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said in a news release. “We need to act now and build more homes for people who need them. Projects like this not only get people out of the cold and into safe, secure housing, they also help people rebuild their lives with the right supports, dignity and respect."

As with the Agassiz project, it will be operated by the John Howard Society and will be a “harm reduction” facility, meaning residents can consume alcohol and drugs on site and it will have a safe injection room.

The Agassiz project sparked strong opposition from neighbours that culminated with a seven-hour public hearing that ended about 1 a.m. this morning, Jan. 18. Council was unanimous in supporting the project.

"As with all our projects, we are committed to being a good neighbour, building safe communities, both inside our buildings and with those who live and work in the surrounding area,” Gaelene Askeland, executive director, John Howard Society of Central and South Okanagan, said in the release.

— This story was updated at 12:11 p.m. Jan. 18, 2019 to include new information from B.C. Housing.

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