Kelowna man starts a petition to stop new supportive housing project in Rutland - InfoNews

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Kelowna man starts a petition to stop new supportive housing project in Rutland

A petition against more supportive housing in Rutland has been created at
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June 21, 2019 - 3:30 PM

KELOWNA - A Rutland resident started a petition at to stop the latest plan for a supportive housing complex in his neighbourhood.

"Rutland is becoming saturated with wet supportive housing facilities. The current proposed on McCurdy and Rutland Road is in close proximity to three schools," reads the petition created by Daryl Kitsul.

"As a community, we feel it is wrong to expect us to be the only citizens to try and solve a city wide problem. This new project has struck a nerve due to location, and lack of care for the families and children in the area. The city council has passed this project without proper public consultation, and without any regard for the well being of our children and youth. Having the potential increase in crime, drug use and or discarded drug paraphernalia is the wrong thing to subject our vulnerable population to."

Kitsul said that making Rutland children and youth uncomfortable with a simple walk to school or playing in their parks, is unfair. 

"This project must be stopped immediately until proper research and public consultation can take place. I ask our Premier John Horgan to appoint an ombudsman, in hopes of conducting an investigation as to how the Kelowna city council, passed this project," he said, in the petition.

This isn't the only effort underway to slow the progress of another supportive housing complex. MLA Norm Letnick recently penned a letter asking for a "pause" button to be pressed on the project.

“The people of Rutland are very generous and caring and have done more than their fair share when it comes to housing the hardest to house,” Letnick wrote in his letter.

“However since the opening of the Heath House and Hearthstone facilities, I as the local MLA have heard from many residents that they are feeling overwhelmed by the increased number of people openly using drugs, exposure to used needles, and a general sense of feeling unsafe in their own neighbourhood.”

Letnick said he understands the Canadian Mental Health Association as the operator believes it has little control over much of what is happening in the area, but nevertheless is leading a collective effort to develop a strategy to address these neighbourhood issues. For that, he said, he’s thankful.

He also said he supports the city’s Journey Home Strategy.

“However to earn the social license required for additional supportive housing projects to proceed I believe it’s the responsibility of the provincial government and its partner agencies to demonstrate that they can house people actively taking drugs without adversely impacting their surrounding neighbourhood,” he said. “Currently that is not the case.”

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