An artist’s rendition of the proposed Freedom House at Rutland Road and McCurdy Road in Kelowna. (contributed)

MLA urges a ‘pause’ to controversial Rutland supportive housing project

City of Kelowna council to discuss McCurdy project’s development permit on Monday

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick is calling on B.C.’s municipal affairs and housing minister to “pause” a new supportive housing project slated for McCurdy Road in the Rutland area of Kelowna.

“The people of Rutland are very generous and caring and have done more than their fair share when it comes to housing the hardest to house,” Letnick said in a statement.

“However, since the opening of the Heath House and Hearthstone facilities, I, as the local MLA, have heard from many residents that they are feeling overwhelmed by the increased number of people openly using drugs, exposure to used needles and a general sense of feeling unsafe in their own neighbourhood.”

City of Kelowna councillors are to discuss the supportive housing unit at Rutland Road and McCurdy Road this Monday during their regular council meeting. Staff has recommended council authorize the development permit pending it meets the necessary regulations.

READ MORE: Controversial supportive housing proposal approved in Kelowna

The four-storey, 49-unit supportive housing facility was approved in September 2017.

Letnick, a long-time volunteer and supporter of housing initiatives said more work is required between the province, community partners and housing projects to “demonstrate they can house people actively taking drugs without adversely impact their surrounding neighbourhood.”

“Currently that is not the case,” he said.

“I am asking you to pause this new supportive housing project until the issues surrounding the existing Rutland projects are resolved to their neighbourhood’s satisfaction or alternatively create housing which has a better chance of meeting with community support,” he said in the open letter to Housing Minister Selina Robinson.

READ MORE: Addiction treatment society look to manage new BC Housing facility in Kelowna

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