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Kelowna News

West Kelowna shelter opposed by community members

Bronzon Paul is one of the homeless on Leon Avenue in Kelowna who would welcome a winter shelter bed.

In the week since the province announced a homeless shelter was in the works for West Kelowna, some members of the community have launched an effort to get it moved elsewhere.  

“For those who don’t know; there is a proposed 40-bed homeless camp to be set up on 1160 Stevens Road,” reads a Change.org petition set up by someone identified only as S. Gallivan that has garnered almost 500 signatures.

“I’m not debating that we desperately need this service but please consider the impact on the Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights and West Kelowna estates neighbourhoods. Let’s try to be proactive to find a better location.”

This location is only 800 metres from Hudson Road Elementary school, next door to a daycare and after-school care program, Gallivan said.

“It (has a) car dependant score of 32, and a somewhat bikeable score 24, with a non-existent transit option as they keep cutting the services in this area. There are no grocery or other long term services in the area, and across the street is a liquor store,” Gallivan said, noting that while they say the site may only be open for six months, the Brown Road facility was similarly pitched and it is still around.

They say that it’s important for the City and province to get a better location and ask that the petition be signed by Dec. 8, so it can be sent to West Kelowna’s city clerk in a timely manner.

B.C. Housing intends to submit a temporary use permit application to the City of West Kelowna on Dec. 10.

If approved, the shelter is anticipated to open between early January and the end of March 2020.

The shelter would be located at 1160 Stevens Rd. and operated by the West Kelowna Shelter Society. The society will have at least two staff members on-site around the clock.

"(The shelter society) has been effectively managing shelter and housing at 3672 Brown Rd. since December 2018," reads a press release from the province.

"Modular trailers will be brought to the site with space for bunks, showers, toilets and amenity space. In addition to the supports provided by (shelter society) staff, Interior Health would also provide health services based on individual needs."

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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