City of Kelowna dismantling temporary homeless camp at Recreation Avenue

City of Kelowna dismantling temporary homeless camp at Recreation Avenue

The site will be partially decommissioned as emergency shelters open up

The City of Kelowna is dismantling the temporary overnight shelter at Recreation Avenue after the private security contractor hired by the city to oversee the site decided not to renew its contract.

According to the city, the enhanced security firm cited decided not to renew its contract because of unacceptable liability concerns.

“Without a security firm with enhanced skill to monitor the site and complexities of the infrastructure to support a diverse population, the current level of service at the site is no longer viable,” the city’s communications director Tom Wilson said in a release.

As a result, the warming tents and storage facilities the city brought in to help people will be removed and Interior Health said it will also remove the harm reduction tent. The toilets, garbage cans and sharps disposal will remain at the site.

According to the city, overnight sheltering will continue to be allowed at Recreation Avenue, as well as the base of Knox Mountain but set up and take down times will be strictly enforced. CCTV monitoring of the areas will also continue, and so will bylaw, RCMP and neighbourhood patrols.

“The situation has been challenging in that we are trying to balance the needs of those living without homes and the surrounding community,” the city’s community safety director Darren Caul said.

“At the same time, the Journey Home Society, the City, BC Housing and the social services providers in Kelowna have been working around the clock for months trying to find creative solutions to a growing need in our community.”

Over the past month ,ore winter shelter spaces have started to become available inlcuding a bridge housing facility operated by the John Howard Society at 555 Fuller Avenue. Welcome Inn will also be offering more beds as it races to finish renovations for its January opening. With the bridge housing at Fuller Avenue and Welcome Inn, more spaces are also expected to open up at Cornerstone and Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.

READ MORE: Tent city on Leon Avenue moved to north Kelowna

READ MORE: ‘I’m so angry I can’t even cry right now’: Candlelight vigil held for Kelowna man who died at homeless camp


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
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