An artists rendering of Freedom’s Door facility, proposed for the corner of McCurdy Road and Rutland Road in Kelowna.

Controversial supportive housing rezoning up for discussion in Kelowna

The proposed Freedom’s Door facility in Rutland goes to public hearing Tuesday evening

Plans for a controversial supportive housing development in Rutland will go to a public hearing Tuesday evening in Kelowna.

And the meeting promises to be a well-attended event.

The proposal, to build a four-storey, 49-unit building to house graduates of Freedom Door’s drug and alcohol recovery program, has met with stiff opposition from many residents in the area, who say they feel the building does not belong in the primarily residential area where it is envisioned.

The site is at the corner of Rutland Road and McCurdy Road, which now houses a building belonging to the Knights of Columbus.

But while many area residents have spoken out against the proposal, which would see a building with commercial units and a new Knights of Columbus hall in it, as well as living space for the Freedom’s Door program graduates, there is also support.

The city has received many letters from people on both sides of the issue heading into Tuesday’s public hearing.

In sending the rezoning proposal to a public hearing, Kelowna city council did not address the merits of the building, with Mayor Colin Basran noting council cannot base a rezoning decision on who will live in a building, only on land use. So that will be what is in question Tuesday night.

The city, however, recognizes many who speak will want to talk about the residents and their support or opposition for such a facility in the neighbourhood.

“This has been a very public issue, and people on both sides are very passionate about it,” said Kelowna Coun. Mohini Singh last month when council sent the rezoning to the upcoming public hearing.

“I think moving this forward to a public hearing so we can hear what the public has to say is important.”

Opponents have said the area is not the right one for such a facility because it is primarily residential, is near schools and there are no services nearby.

But supporters say the building will be a “dry” facility, the men who will be there have already gone through Freedom Door’s recovery program and support services are needed throughout the community.

Freedom’s Door operates a number of supportive housing units throughout Kelowna to help men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

The public hearing is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Kelowna city hall.