Create a better plan for social housing at 2025 Agassiz Road, Kelowna.
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We believe that the City of Kelowna' s Journey Home strategy (its current initiative to combat homelessness) is too important to be addressed in a piecemeal manner and that a comprehensive plan for (a) the types of buildings to be built and (b) the best locations for such buildings, should be developed in partnership with all stakeholders. This includes the neighbourhoods where they will be placed.
We believe the right place to house high risk individuals including persons with active addictions is where the risk they pose to others is minimized.
We believe that BC Housing's current plan for social housing at 2025 Agassiz Road is mismatch of project and operator to neighbourhood that threatens the safety and security of hundreds of seniors. This plan, which involves housing dozens of active users of hard drugs in harm reduction supportive housing (more commonly known as a 'wet facility') adjacent to retirement residences and senior-friendly residential condos in one of Kelowna's highest density neighbourhoods was developed without any consultation with the neighbourhood impacted. This goes against all the collaborative principles and commitments to inclusion made as part of the Journey Home strategy.
We believe this project and its divisive nature has not been developed with the best interests of residents of The City of Kelowna as a whole in mind but has been developed in a rush as a band-aid solution to a problem that deserves better planning.
We believe the 2025 Agassiz Road site is suitable for subsidized housing for seniors (of which there is a huge shortage) or for the recently announced Kelowna Women's Shelter second stage housing project.
We call on the project partners, namely BC Housing, The City of Kelowna, The BC Provincial Government & Interior Health to revisit this project plan and develop an actual long-term plan for the implementation of the Journey Home strategy that balances the interests of Kelowna's homeless population and the interests of existing residents - rather than taking a rushed one-step-at-a-time approach.
We call on the project partners to respect the covenant that was placed on this property by previous owners (the Ukrainian Church of Sts Peter & Paul) restricting development on this property to two-stories only, and to immediately withdraw the current rezoning applications and development permits that are a clear breach this covenant.
Finally, we call on Kelowna City Council to reject any and all rezoning applications and development permits for 2025 Agassiz Road until (a) a more suitable project is proposed for this site and (b) the Ukrainian Church of Sts Peter & Paul has been consulted and its covenant is either respected by BC Housing or is waived by the church.
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