Rod Roloff signs the McCurdy House petition along side volunteer Victoria Shannon. (Daniel Taylor - Kelowna Capital News)

Petition against ‘wet’ housing project in Rutland surpasses 15,000 signatures

The petition wants to change drug and alcohol use at the McCurdy Road Supportive Housing project

The sudden arrival of the cold wasn’t enough to deter petitioners on Tuesday.

Petition organizers gathered signatures at A Plus Automotive in Rutland in an effort to change the lenient rules towards drug and alcohol use at the ‘wet’ McCurdy Road Supportive Housing project scheduled to be completed next spring.

The petition moved past 15,000 names and the Rutland community insists that they must be heard.

“We definitely have enough voices,” said volunteer Victoria Shannon.

“We should be listened to.”

READ MORE: Drive-thru petition against wet housing to be held in Kelowna on Tuesday

READ MORE: Kelowna’s McCurdy house gets operation model redesign

In July, after intense public pressure, the province changed the rules for the McCurdy project prohibiting the use of illegal drugs on site. Alcohol and certain drugs will still be permitted.

The biggest concern for the community is that the McCurdy project is too close to Rutland schools. With alcohol being allowed on the site, parents in the neighbourhood are concerned more issues will arise in their neighbourhood.

“There’s been a lot of increase in crime, drug use and needles found — pick something, it’s been found,” said organizer Tania Gustafson.

“We want to change the function of the building so it’s not a ‘wet’ facility near our kids.”

Petitioners hope that gathering signatures locally will have a larger impact.

“Fixing one problem in one place is not going to help the rest of the city. We want to be the ripple in the pond,” Gustafson said.

“The whole of Kelowna and the rest of the province are having the same issues and it needs to be fixed for everybody.”

Gustafson said that Tuesday’s drive-thru will likely be one of the last before the petition is brought to the B.C. government and BC Housing.

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