Just the facts: Anti supportive housing petition in Kelowna fudging details | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Just the facts: Anti supportive housing petition in Kelowna fudging details

Hundreds of Rutland residents attended an open house earlier this week on the McCurdy Road supportive housing project.
July 02, 2019 - 2:00 PM

KELOWNA - There's some misleading information in a petition headed to Victoria in an effort to stop the McCurdy Road supportive housing project.

On the Rutland for Safe Neighbourhoods Facebook page, the petition which supporters say can be signed by any B.C. resident over the age of 18, relies heavily on the statement that there are five schools with 2,700 students within a one-kilometre radius of the proposed housing project at 130 McCurdy Road.

There are only two schools within that distance, according to Google Maps. Those are Rutland Middle and Senior Secondary schools which are shown on Google Maps as a 450-metre walk away.

Rutland Elementary school is 1.3 kilometres by road or 1.1 km walking while Pearson Elementary is a 1.2 km walk.

So, those are close and may qualify as being within the radius of one kilometre, as the crow flies.

But, where is the fifth school?

In a message from petition promoter Audra Bourdreu to iNFOnews.ca, she refers to Studio 9 School of the Arts. It’s at 1180 Houghton Road. That’s a 2.5 km walk.

A little further afield, Bourdreu wrote, is the Okanagan Christian School. It’s at 1035 Hollywood Rd., a 3.5 km walk.

Legislation dealing with petitions states, in part: “The petition must contain a clear, concise, accurate and temperate statement of the facts for which the intervention of the House is requested and the signature of all the petitioners.”

The petition also refers to a “supported” housing facility. Technically, it’s called “supportive.”

Small point, but the petition’s depiction of who will be living there is misleading.

The petition talks about a “facility for substance-addicted homeless persons” and 49 people who are “actively addicted to illicit drugs.”

The B.C. Housing’s web site lists four factors that may make people eligible for this type of housing: low-income adults, homeless or at the risk of homelessness, “require supports with mental health and/or substance abuse,” or need support to help “maintain a successful tenancy.”

Some may be addicted to alcohol only, which is not an illicit drug. Some may have mental health issues with no addictions. And some may just not have a place to live.

The agencies responsible for picking who gets this type of housing take care that there is a mix of tenants.

“You do need a resident mix,” Dawn Himer, Executive Director of the John Howard Society that manages a half-dozen similar facilities in Kelowna, told iNFOnews.ca in March. “You don’t want everybody to be suffering from substance abuse disorder. It’s not a healthy environment for people to grow and move forward. So those who want to get well, they don’t want to be in a place where everybody is this way.”

Bourdreu, in her post on Facebook, states that 4,000 signatures are needed to have MLA Norm Letnick present the petition in the legislature but that organizers are aiming to get 10,000 (10 per cent of Kelowna’s population) by the July 9 deadline.

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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