iN VIDEO: Conflicts over Kelowna supportive housing projects appear to be sparking vandalism - InfoNews

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iN VIDEO: Conflicts over Kelowna supportive housing projects appear to be sparking vandalism

Tanya Garratt's car was torched earlier this week after her husband was vocal about his opposition to the McCurdy Road supportive housing project.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Tanya Garratt
June 26, 2019 - 2:02 PM

KELOWNA - Tanya Garratt took to social media after her Mini Cooper was torched earlier this week outside her Kelowna home.

“I don’t usually use social media to voice my personal opinions, but this situation has not only gotten out of hand but has seriously affected me personally,” she wrote on Facebook.

Her husband John has been a vocal opponent to the McCurdy Road supportive housing project that was given a development permit by Kelowna city council last week.

It was at about 1 a.m. Monday, June 24, shortly after John made public comments about the project on Sunday – that Tanya’s car was set on fire in the 300 block of Pearson Road.

“We do have security footage of the person that did it so we know for fact that it is arson,” she told iNFOnews.ca today.

Kelowna RCMP confirm the fire was the act of an arsonist. 

“A Kelowna RCMP fire investigator has since conducted an examination of the charred vehicle and has now deemed the incident as an act of arson,” Kelowna media liaison officer Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey says in a media release. “Our investigators have reason to believe that the event was targeted.”

At first, she thought it was just an arson. Then she heard of other opponents being targetted.

“We thought it was an isolated incident then, yesterday Norm Letnick’s office got vandalized and then another gentleman, that is vocal against this McCurdy wet house, his gas tank got punctured by somebody,” Garratt said. “We thought, holy crap, we’re stepping back a little bit but, on the other hand we don’t want these people to win just because they’re scaring us.”

Letnick is the Kelowna-Lake Country MLA who called for a halt to the McCurdy project.

On Monday night, someone tried to smash through one of the front glass doors of his Highway 33 office.

"It's hard to believe in coincidences," Letnick told iNFOnews.ca today. "It’s hard to know. We’re getting a lot of phone calls and walk-ins from people and they’re very, very upset – mostly upset at me for putting this housing on McCurdy."

In fact, Letnick is a Liberal MLA and is in opposition to the project, especially after touring the neighbourhood around Highway 97 and Leathhead Road yesterday where business owners are upset about increases in crime and vandalism since the Hearthstone and Heath House supportive housing projects opened a few months ago.

"Assuming it’s not a coincidence, it could be someone that’s upset at me or the provincial government for putting the housing on McCurdy or it could be someone who’s upset at me for asking the government to pause putting the housing on McCurdy," he said. "All I know is, my primary concern is the safety of my staff and the safety of people in their homes in the area that already has these housing facilities down by Leathhead and Highway 97.”

Garratt has no way of knowing if the incidents are all connected to the McCurdy Road project or any idea of who might be involved.

“I have no idea why anyone would (target them),” she said. “It could be a complete coincidence, and not actually have anything to do with this. It’s just weird that three things happen within 24 hours and all of us are against this location.”

RCMP say the suspect in the arson fire is approximately 6' tall, heavier set and was wearing a light coloured hoodie with the hood up, light coloured pants and a pair of dark running shoes.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300. Or remain completely anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or by leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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