The Cornerstone homeless shelter is houses in the former A & B Sound building on Leon Avenue in downtown Kelowna. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Kelowna chamber feels ‘misled’ about downtown homeless shelter

Chamber says it plans to step up its efforts to have the Cornerstone shelter moved out of area

News of a one-year extension to the lease for the emergency homeless shelter that popped up last winter on Leon Avenue in downtown Kelowna doesn’t surprise the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce—but it does not please it either.

In a news release issued Thursday, the chamber said there were hints over the last few weeks that this was going to happen.

“We understand the need for such a facility to help those that are marginalized in our society but we feel a bit misled about this location,” said Tom Dyas, past president of the Commerce.

“First we were told that this was not an ideal site but not to worry as it was only going to be temporary and now it seems the plan is to operate year-round.”

In the release, the chamber blames the Cornerstone shelter—housed in the former A & B Sound Store building and originally described as a temporary facility—for bringing more street crime to the area including increased break-ins and property damage, and an increase in fear among people who work in the area.

Dyas said the chamber and Downtown Kelowna Association, which represents business in the downtown core, will continue to encourage the city and BC Housing to increase security and expand regular clean-up efforts while aggressively looking at other locations for the shelter.

The chamber and DKA have been part of several meetings involving stakeholders from the downtown business community, the city, BC Housing, the RCMP, shelter operator the John Howard Society and other parties to review options to relocate the facility.

“Unfortunately, given such a limited time-frame every option suggested by the business community has not met the parameters defined by BC Housing,” said the release.

The chamber and the DKA have also been active in trying to get both BC Housing and the city to address a number of the safety concerns businesses and employees in the area have raised since the shelter opened late last year.

With the news the shelter is now going to operate year-round, both organizations say they plan to be stepping up their efforts to get guarantees from the city and BC Housing they will take “appropriate” action to ensure a safe environment for those using the facility and the many employees, customers and operators of nearby businesses.

“Our members fully understand the need for the city and BC Housing to provide an emergency shelter while other more suitable housing is in the works,” said Dan Allen, president of Downtown Kelowna.

“We support those efforts and the work of the service providers but we continue to believe that the current location of Cornerstone should not be viewed as a long-term solution.”

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New summer market hits Kelowna

Craft Culture and Manteo Resort will host a summer market this weekend

Two Okanagan artists showcased in Kelowna Gallery

The gallery will welcome guests for free on August 2

Further mediated talks scheduled in casino strike

Gateway and BCGEU schedule talks for July 20-22

Rail trail connection drives ahead

Coldstream connects Vernon to Lake Country

West Kelowna’s music in the park will rock this Friday

This Friday’s Music in the Park will feature rock and country group… Continue reading

17 dogs set sail on Okanagan Lake

A celebrity dog trainer took 17 dogs and their owners on a boat ride experience in Kelowna

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

BC crews respond to two new wildfires

Blazes near Allison and Osoyoos Lakes

Motorcycle driver dies in a head-on collision near Oliver

RCMP said the three vehicle collision, near Road 18, happened around 2:45 p.m. on July 14

‘Lava bomb’ through roof of tour boat injures 22 in Hawaii

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers”

B.C. teen meets Nicolas Cage

Filming mob movie in downtown Vernon, B.C.

Critics claim Trump “defended a tyrant”

Trump questions US intel, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling

B.C. MLAs choose new children’s watchdog

Jennifer Charlesworth has worked in government, social services

B.C. reporter calls out immigration photo on social media as fake news

A Vancouver reporter is calling out a British politician for spreading fake news

Most Read