People sleeping rough in Kelowna getting new campsite | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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People sleeping rough in Kelowna getting new campsite

The City of Kelowna's first homeless campsite was set up on Recreation Avenue in the fall of 2019.
April 16, 2021 - 4:30 PM

The City of Kelowna is going to open a new spot for homeless residents to camp.

It will replace the existing campsite on Baillie Avenue which, in turn, replaces the Recreation Avenue site that was set up in the fall of 2019.

“We have a legal obligation to allow for outdoor sheltering when shelters are at capacity,” community safety director Darren Caul said in a news release. “Since fall 2019, the City has chosen to designate and service a public space in a way that balances the rights and humanitarian needs of people sheltering outside with those of the neighbouring community.”

While there was sufficient indoor emergency winter shelters this past winter, one closed at the end of March and not everyone wants to sleep in such facilities.

READ MORE: Only one emergency winter shelter in Kamloops, Okanagan will close next week

The new site is in the same north downtown vicinity as the previous two locations. It will be on the south side of the Okanagan Rail Trail, just east of Richter Street.

Work has started on the site, which will open in May.

The site will be closer to services and landscape, tree and plant features will better separate it from the Rail Trail, the city said.

While sometimes referred to as campsites, the city calls them outdoor sheltering sites. Tents can only be put up in the evening and must be taken down each morning.

“There are important advantages to a designated site,” Caul said. “Meals, sanitation, garbage collection, as well as social, health and enforcement services can all be focused and provided around this one specific site.”

While the site is considered temporary, some features, such as landscaping, can stay once there’s no further need for it as a shelter space.

More information about homelessness and outdoor sheltering is available at

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