Save our Neighbourhood, in West Kelowna, from BC Housing Homeless Shelter Agenda

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This petition is to raise awareness and gain support to address the use of the Super 8 in Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna as a homeless shelter. Services to support our homeless population is an ongoing and serious issue for our province, but the Government of BC / BC housing has used careless judgement on the placement of a facility at this location.

This property is located right in the middle of 3 school zones. Hudson Road Elementary School, CNB Middle School and the closest, only 200 meters from Mount Boucherie Highschool. The high school students cross this property to their bus stop. The property also shares a fence line with 12 residential homes. The neighborhood is home to numerous day cares and is almost completely family residential.

Since BC housing established this location in early May they have put up “Wet Tents” in the parking lot. These are designated areas for drug use. BC housing puts up these tents when they create shelters because, in dealing with the homeless population there is an inherent drug issue, which the BC Housing has taken the position to facilitate. This is BC housings attempt to contain a devastating pandemic that they have just placed in our neighborhood. This is all less than 25 meters from family residences where kids are playing in their back yards, 100m from a large daycare facility and this is what our community’s teenagers need to walk by to get to school.

This has been erected under the pretence of a “Temporary Covid19 Initiative”; but this should be alarming to all residents of the area. Originally it was only until July 1st and now it is extending to September. We have seen these “temporary plans” across the province develop into long-term housing strategies. The Government of BC has announced numerous roll outs to open up beds in local hotels to the homeless population. We can not be naïve; it is BC housing’s prerogative to create permanent solutions where the community will allow it. Even if they do move on in September, if our community and neighbourhood condone this - we will be the target again for the next pop up encampment.

The current homeless facility on Brown Rd. was supposed to be temporary as well and is still running. They attempted another location in Rose Valley on Stevens road last year which was successfully stopped by the community with a similar petition.
As we head in to summer with Covid 19 still looming and most summer programs cancelled this year, our children will be home in our neighbourhoods. With many parents back to work; most older kids will be alone. This thought may not have been overly concerning for West Kelowna residents because we have felt safe in our neighborhoods. But, Lakeview heights now has this threat to their safety and wellbeing to contend with.

I have visited this property to talk to the individuals staying there and see exactly what is going on. They are there, congregating in the “wet tents”; they are doing their illegal drugs blatantly and in plane sight. They even have a nurse on site to keep them safe. Our government has set this up in our back yard.

What is our government doing to keep us safe and protect us? Drug use is unpredictable and uncontrollable - you can not trust an individual’s actions and intentions while under the influence. What happens when we go for walks or our children go out to play at the park or the school field and they are surrounded by this influx of people walking around high. What about when they are propositioned with drugs or harassed for money as they walk by? What happens when the unpredictable nature of drug use turns violent and harmful? BC housing has placed a highly volatile land mine in the middle of our neighborhood. Are we to keep our children locked inside their homes to prevent them from being exposed to these dangers? And for how long? First it was until July; now it’s all summer.

As home owners we need to also acknowledge the devastating affect that this has to our properties with – increased crime and vandalism statistics – insurance costs – damage repair – marketability.

I can empathise with the need to find solutions for our homeless population. As tax payers, we fund BC Housing to fill this need. But it is also the BC Government’s & our Municipality’s responsibility to keep our communities safe and consider the residents of the neighborhoods that they are impacting. This initiative was carried out with gross negligence in their choice of the location and absolute indifference to warn or address our neighbourhood. We need to hold our elected officials and government bodies to a higher standard. BC housing needs to reassess NOW, TAKE DOWN THE TENTS and find a better suited location that does not have such a harmful impact on our neighborhoods and school zones. 

Please sign this petition to bring back the safe atmosphere of our Lakeview Heights neighborhood.

Please write to our MLA, Ben Stewart - he has agreed to carry our voices. Please include The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Hon. Selina Robinson, who overlooks BC housing for our Provincial Government and Shayne Ramsay, CEO for BC housing. Share you concerns and bring them your ideas for other solutions. Let’s protect West Kelowna’s neighbourhoods together. 


Ben Stewart:

Hon. Selina Robinson:
Shayne Ramsay: