OPINION: Rutland won’t change with Freedom House

Kelowna community will adapt and move forward after approval of controversial project

In the face of intense public scrutiny and pressure, credit should go to those on our city council who voted in favour of the Freedom’s Door proposal for a supportive housing project at the corner of Rutland and McCurdy Road.

Despite the fact the property is located in a residential area and close to a few schools, city council went with compassion over fear and approved the project to move forward.

It’s not an easy subject and you can’t blame people for being scared or nervous, if they live in the immediate surrounding area. But if we, as a society, are going to tackle addiction issues, we have to have facilities like Freedom House and Freeedom’s Door, where people can get clean, and reintegrate into society.

Related: Facebook reader’s comment on Freedom House

Who’s to say that a resident in Freedom House is any more dangerous than a resident in any one of the houses in the surrounding area? Or any of the houses in the mission, or Kettle Valley, or Glenmore, or Wilden? We should be teaching our kids to be smart, safe and aware no matter where they are playing.

But to shut the doors of your community to some of the people who need it most, is not the answer.

Education is a better answer. Kids should learn about addiction and how it is dealt with and what types of facilities and services are needed to help someone who has gone down the wrong path.

One resident at the public hearing stated that council’s decision will change the fate of Rutland for years to come.

If that’s the case, then so be it. If Rutland is a community that welcomes troubled people in and treats them as equals and not some piece of trash, then that change is for the better.

Rutland is an amazing place to raise a family. It is in itself stereotyped as being lower class than other areas of the city. But Rutland should be proud of what it is. It’s a family-friendly area where quality working class folks live, work and play.

And Freedom House is not going to change that one bit.


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