Transition house’s critics far outnumber supporters
Opponents of complex for men trying to beat addictions say it’s wrong for Rutland
KELOWNA — Many of the people who support a controversial residence for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts don’t live anywhere near the proposed Rutland location.
But hundreds of people who live close to the site have signed petitions against the project or written letters of objection, according to correspondence received by the city clerk’s office.
More than 110 pages of documents from the public were on file with the clerk’s office as of Thursday afternoon.
A public hearing on the rezoning application for the property, at the corner of McCurdy Road and Rutland Road, promises to be a lengthy affair when it’s held Tuesday evening at City Hall.
Freedom’s Door, a faith-based organization, hopes to win council approval for a four-storey, 51-suite project to be occupied by men trying to overcome addictions.
The project’s many critics say it’s an inappropriate development for a neighbourhood they describe as family-oriented, primarily made up of single-family homes, and filled with parks and schools.
A common theme among critics is their belief that Rutland has an inordinate number of programs and facilities designed to serve low-income residents or people from disadvantaged social groups.
“Kelowna is very quick to ‘give’ Rutland what no other area wants,” says Lynn Stevens, who identifies herself as a longtime Rutland resident.
“I feel Rutland has a bad-enough reputation in the Okanagan Valley, and this project should be built on Dilworth Mountain or in the Upper Mission, Kettle Valley,” Steve Horton writes in his letter of objection.
As of Thursday, the city clerk’s office had received 21 individual letters of support for the Freedom’s Door project. Based on the addresses given by the letter writers, only three of them live within Rutland.
Sixteen form letters had also been received from people who identified themselves as “a resident of Rutland.” However, nine of the addresses were actually from areas not within Rutland.
A sign against a residence for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts is displayed on a fence in Kelowna’s Rutland neighbourhood, near the site of the proposed complex.