Controversial Kelowna bottle depot finds a new home | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Controversial Kelowna bottle depot finds a new home

The future home of the new Columbia Bottle Depots location on Kent Road in Kelowna.
August 21, 2018 - 5:00 PM

KELOWNA - The bottle depot on Kirschner Road that drew numerous bylaw complaints is relocating to a new site the owner believes will help alleviate some of the problems associated with the homeless who were drawn to the area.

Columbia Bottle Depots owner Clare Cassan confirmed the recycling depot will move just a few blocks east to a light industrial building at 1936 Kent Road.

“There’s no liquor store next door for one thing and that had to be a draw for the old place,” he said.

Cassan described the neighbourhood around the new location as quieter, lacking the steady stream of traffic generated by the nearby Landmark office complex and restaurants, which magnified the problems at his old location.

Homeless bottle-pickers would set up by the side of the road, drawing people who would give them their empties rather than drive through the bottle depot, Cassan said.

As a result, Kelowna bylaw officers say they received multiple complaints from local businesses about drug use, public urination and defecation and aggressive panhandling, which many tied to the bottle depot.

“Most of these situations are out our control,” a clearly frustrated Cassan says.

“It’s how people deal with the homeless. All those people who believe they are helping by giving them their empties, they are not,” he adds. "They would be a lot further ahead if they would donate the money to groups like the Salvation Army, Inn from the Cold and the Gospel Mission.”

Columbia was given notice in April there would be no lease extension on its Kirschner Road location. B.C. Land Titles shows the building changed hands in April when Cassan purchased it.

Cassan says he hasn’t yet publicized the change of location as the building is still occupied by the former owner and requires renovations.

However, Cassan says he has kept city staff and council aware of his intentions and intends to continue his long standing practise of being a good corporate neighbour.

“It has always been our intent to be good neighbours and we will work through any issues that arise as we always have,” Cassan says.

Despite its reputation, Cassan said the Kirschner Road location served 400 customers a day and is one of the busiest full-service recycling depots in the province.

Besides the Kirschner Road location, Columbia has recycling depots downtown on St. Paul Street and on Dease Road in Rutland.

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