West Kelowna gravel pit pitched as ideal site for a homeless shelter | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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West Kelowna gravel pit pitched as ideal site for a homeless shelter

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June 13, 2021 - 4:56 PM

A Central Okanagan gravel pit is being eyed for the site of a homeless shelter.

On Wednesday, West Kelowna will take a closer look at a plan to allow a  temporary shelter and supportive services to be built at the industrial site of 2515 Bartley Road for a period of up to three years.

BC Housing would fund what’s to be a modular facility, which would include 42 shelter residential units that provide shelter for up to 40 residents experiencing homelessness. At the last point in time count for West Kelowna, there were said to be 72 people dealing with homelessness.

It will also include office space, a kitchen, laundry, storage, and amenity spaces.

“This temporary shelter will provide a safe and secure residence for people experiencing homelessness in West Kelowna and will replace the current shelter operating at West Kelowna United Church, as this property has recently sold and operations are unable to continue on this site,” reads the report.

“Without other funded shelter options for these West Kelowna residents, there will be 38 individuals who will have to seek shelters outdoors. This means that many individuals will go without seeing their daily supports and care team, currently operating out of and visiting Brown Road.”

The site is owned by the city and there are plans to resume gravel extraction activities in close proximity to the proposed shelter site. 

“It is unknown how these activities will affect shelter guests and staff in regards to noise, dust and heavy machinery operation during active extraction,” the report states.

Potential plans to mitigate the effects include a 2.2 metre Allan block wall to mitigate dust and noise, water misters to mitigate dust, slat fencing to screen operation from gravel extraction site.

The advantages of the site, from the perspective of city staff, include its relatively close proximity to bus routes, and its distance from residential neighbourhoods. The closest homes are about 400 metres away, at the Crystal Springs trailer park.

Before the shelter could be established, city council would have to grant a temporary use permit as housing isn't part of the zoning allowed on gravel extraction sites.

The proposal will be discussed by the city's advisory planning commission  Wednesday before being considered at a later meeting by council.

Already BC  Housing has actively been working with  Turning  Points  Collaborative Society to communicate information regarding the proposed shelter site to neighbourhood associations, nearby businesses and residences.  Letters  were  sent  out  or  delivered  to neighbouring properties in early June to provide an introduction to the proposal as well as contact information to answer questions or address concerns

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.We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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