North End Kelowna petition targets Knox Mountain homeless camp | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North End Kelowna petition targets Knox Mountain homeless camp

Dena Barabash is trying to get Knox Mountain Park off the list of possible sites for homeless campgrounds.
December 04, 2019 - 12:32 PM

A petition will be delivered to Kelowna City Hall on Friday by Dena Barabash asking the City to formally decommission a portion of Knox Mountain Park designated as a legal camping spot for Kelowna’s homeless.

Barabash led a rally at the site on Nov. 26 after the city announced, earlier that day, that it and a ball diamond on Recreation Avenue could be used by the homeless who had been living in a tent city on Leon Avenue.

No one chose to camp there and the port-a-potties were removed yesterday, Dec. 3.

“This petition is that they decommission Knox Mountain permanently so they can’t decide in the springtime that they want to fire it up again because Leon is, all of a sudden, populated again,” Barabash told today. “We’re presenting it quietly. We’re not going to be rallying on the steps. But I have 200 signatures, including local lawyers and businesses. It’s not a North End issue. It’s basically: Keep Knox Mountain Knox Mountain.”

The City said in an email the site will be kept as an “option until further notice.”

By decommissioning, Barabash wants it removed from the B.C. Housing list as a secondary campground option.

She will deliver it with impact statements and letters at 10 a.m. Friday at City Hall.

While she speaks about the petitioners as a “group” it’s not a formal organization and has no name. It’s not the Friends of Knox Mountain. That’s an existing organization but, Barabash said, some of those members did sign the petition.

She’s also not a member of the Kelowna Downtown Knox Mountain neighbourhood association that put out a news release last week saying it’s not opposed to housing for the homeless in that neighbourhood.

Barabash's focus is on keeping Knox Mountain Park as a park and not a campground.

The petition does not address the homeless campground on Recreation Avenue, although Barabash did express some concerns about the safety of workers returning to their cars late at night now that there is a group of homeless people camped in that area of town and moving back and forth between there and downtown.

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