Cornerstone announcement leaves Kelowna Chamber of Commerce with questions

Cornerstone announcement leaves Kelowna Chamber of Commerce with questions

The chamber calls on BC Housing to define ‘indefinite’ following provincial funding announcement

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce still has questions following the province’s announcement to spend $2.4 million a year to keep the Cornerstone shelter operating until alternative permanent housing options are found.

This is the fourth time the temporary shelter has had its operational deadline extended over the past two and a half years, the chamber said.

The 80-bed shelter on Leon Avenue was slotted to close on June 30, but with provincial funding, it will remain open “indefinitely” until another location is found, or until people are relocated and housed.

The chamber, however, wants to know just how long “indefinite” is.

READ MORE: Province to spend $2.4M annually to keep Cornerstone open

“The chamber and the business community have long accepted the need for shelters and understand why such facilities are essential, especially given the fact that many would be forced to sleep outside if they didn’t have the shelter,” chamber president Nikki Csek said.

“The concern with Cornerstone is its close proximity to the Gospel Mission, its large number of clients and the fact that open drug use is permitted in the facility.”

The chamber calls BC Housing and its associated community partners to visit affected business and property owners to “reassure them that safety measures are being put in place and their staff and customers have little to be concerned about,” the release said.

READ MORE: Kelowna chamber feels ‘misled’ about downtown homless shelter

The Downtown Kelowna Association (DKA) voiced its disappointment regarding the announcement last week. It said although it disagrees with the location of the shelter, “the DKA does fully support the efforts of BC Housing, the City of Kelowna, the Journey Home Society and others to establish short-, medium- and long-term housing solutions for Kelowna’s homeless population.”

The DKA will continue advocating for alternative locations and will continue to engage community partners to address the long-term needs of Kelowna’s homeless population.

Although the downtown area represents only a small portion of the chamber’s membership, “we do understand the frustration with the current situation as many businesses have been hit with vandalism over the last number of months and costs associated with safety measures have led to increased levies and tax hikes,” Csek said.

“We are pleased with a renewed commitment from the city to engage businesses in the downtown on an ongoing basis while Cornerstone is phased out and are also pleased that our efforts to reach out to BC Housing officials have led to a commitment from CEO Shayne Ramsay to come to Kelowna in July to speak,” Csek said.


Caitlin Clow
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter

Just Posted

Asia Youngman (right) is pictured shooting another short film she wrote and directed titled Hatha. (Luba Popovic)
Peachland set to star in fantasy thriller film about N’xaxaitk’w — a.k.a. the Ogopogo

The film will follow an Indigenous teen as she navigates peer pressure, bullying and identity

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

Danny Fulton receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 27. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic planned for Kelowna

Clinic at Kelowna Secondary School from June 22 to 24 from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Most Read