An online petition has been started by a Rutland resident in hopes of “conducting an investigation as to how the Kelowna city council passed” a project for supportive housing on McCurdy Road.
The Rutland For Safe Neighbourhoods petition was started on June 19 and already has around 600 signatures.
“Rutland is becoming saturated with ‘wet’ supportive housing facilities. The current proposal on McCurdy and Rutland Road is in close proximity to three schools. As a community, we feel it is wrong to expect us to be the only citizens to try and solve a citywide problem,” Daryl Kitsul, creator of the petition, wrote on his petition.
The four-storey, 49-unit building at 130 McCurdy Road is supposed to provide housing for youth between the ages of 19 and 24 and other individuals experiencing homelessness and at the moment, construction is planned to begin this summer.
“The city council has passed this project without proper public consultation, and without any regard for the well being of our children and youth,” Kitsul wrote.
“Having the potential increase in crime, drug use and/or discarded drug paraphernalia is the wrong thing to subject our vulnerable population to. Making our children and youth uncomfortable with a simple walk to school or playing in their parks is a part of childhood stripped away,” he wrote.
“This project must be stopped immediately until proper research and public consultation can take place.”
Concern has also been expressed by city council and the provincial government.
“We approve land use, not tenancy,” Coun. Loyal Wooldridge said. “But I do want to acknowledge the concern in the community, for sure.”
“Housing First is a part of our solution to end homelessness in Kelowna and we have to make these courageous decisions and I’m very confident the service providers operating the site will do so in a respectful manner for the neighbourhood,” he said.
Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick has asked Housing Minister Selina Robinson to “pause” the project until other project-related issues in the Rutland community are resolved.
A public information meeting will be held regarding the BC Housing plan on June 26 at Rutland Centennial Hall at 5:30 p.m.