UPDATE: Neighbours clash after Kelowna moved homeless camp; legal action in the works | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Neighbours clash after Kelowna moved homeless camp; legal action in the works

The new tent city settled down for the night.
Image Credit: Submitted/Grant Stovel
November 28, 2019 - 4:55 PM

North end residents are gearing up for a fight.

Concerned with how the City of Kelowna went about relocating the street population of Leon Avenue, a group of neighbours is meeting this weekend to “talk about their options and potential courses of action” from a lobbying and legal point of view.

Michael Hansen, a neighbourhood resident, said he will be at the meeting and will know more about their direction in the days ahead.

In the meantime, he’s also met with the person who started a GoFundMe account under the pseudonym “Buddy Booty.”

Its aim is to raise $50,000 to sue the city.

While they want to remain anonymous, Hansen said it is a legitimate fundraising effort.

“The primary concern (for neighbours) is really around the process that was followed in determining where to put the tent city,” Hansen said.

“If there are long term consequences for property values or there’s property damage, it’s to be taken into consideration as well.”

On a personal level, Hansen said that he objects to the public consultation process.

“There was no transparency around the discussions on where to relocate the tent city to,” he said. “I am very upset that residents were not provided any notice prior to moving the tent city. Personally this has cut pretty deep and it will take a long time to get over this.”

Although the tent city has been up for a couple of days, he’s yet to see any issues.

The Buddy Booty fundraising effort is aimed at raising funds to initiate “a class-action lawsuit against the City of Kelowna for damages the community incurred as a result of inaction, incompetence, and ineffectiveness in dealing with the sick, drug-addicted, intoxicated, violent, and often thieving homeless people on our streets."

It said relocating residents to a residential neighbourhood away from Leon Avenue is the latest example of our local authority's inability to resolve this crisis and potentially an abuse of authority.

“It is incomprehensible that any of our city's residents should have to bear the risk to our health, homes, and families, depreciation of quality of life, degradation of our neighbourhoods, and depreciation of the value of our assets at the hands of our local government,” it reads.

The campaign will be turned over and/or co-administered once our community group meets on Saturday morning at the Gather Café in the Innovation Centre at 10 a.m. if the group wants to support it.

On the other side of the spectrum, a GoFundMe by someone named Buddy Help has been created.

“Instead of trying to raise money in order to file a class-action lawsuit against the City of Kelowna, we should be raising money to help the homeless get help,” it reads.

“We have the power to help make a change and a difference in our community. Homelessness is everywhere, it is not a new trend and is a growing problem. Most people know that homeless shelters are around to help the homeless population, provide a warm place to sleep, but the condition of the shelters are an unknown problem. “

No word on its legitimacy, though it's raised $130. The Buddy Booty account has raised $220.

 - This story was updated at 7:25 a.m. Nov. 29, 2019 to change the location of Saturday's meeting.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 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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