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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cameron James is celebrating the recent release of his second single, Voodoo. He is pictured in downtown Kelowna, his hometown. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Journey begins for Kelowna hip-hop artist

Artist Cameron James and filmmaker Jordan Powers proof talent doesnt stop at west coast

(Contributed - City of West Kelowna)
City of West Kelowna to consider endorsing Smith Creek project

Smith Creek neighbourhood plan proposes 900+ housing development on 154 hectares

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
15 cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna Francophone school outbreak

Three other schools in Kelowna are also dealing with potential exposure events

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

A racoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Racoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

A structure fire was reported in Eagle Rock Mobile Home Park in Armstrong Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Contributed)
UPDATE: Home destroyed in North Okanagan mobile home park fire

Large structure fire broke out at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27

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

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers, staff by parents must stop: Chilliwack soccer club

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

FILE – The Queen of Alberni ferry leaves the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta bound for Vancouver Island, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) CANADA
Mechanical failure leaves nearly 200 passengers stranded on BC Ferries ship for hours

A tug arrived after dark to safely nudge the vessel into a berth so travellers could finally disembark

Ridge Meadows RCMP (Black Press)
Maple Ridge X-ray tech convicted of sexual assault dating back 30 years

Allen James Brooks is expected to be sentenced in January 2021

Most Read