Neigh­bours fear sup­port­ive hous­ing com­plex

Crit­ics op­pose BC Hous­ing project planned for area with lots of se­niors

The Daily Courier - - NEWS -

The pro­posed lo­ca­tion of a sup­port­ive hous­ing com­plex in Kelowna could be bet­ter used for other pur­poses, project crit­ics say.

Op­po­nents were to gather last night to keep up their cam­paign against BC Hous­ing’s plans for the site at 2025 Agas­siz Rd.

“That piece of prop­erty is much bet­ter suited for use as a build­ing for low-in­come se­niors or abused women,” says Dave Bradshaw of the newly named Am­brosi-Bar­lee Neigh­bour­hood Al­liance.

The neigh­bour­hood al­ready has many se­niors-ori­ented com­plexes, Bradshaw says. Many res­i­dents are alarmed by the prospect of a new build­ing that he says is de­signed to house home­less peo­ple and those with se­vere ad­dic­tion is­sues.

“BC Hous­ing is telling us, ‘It’ll be fine, no prob­lems,’ but we just don’t agree with that,” Bradshaw said. “Se­niors are ter­ri­fied what this might mean for their neigh­bour­hood.”

BC Hous­ing was to host a pub­lic in­for­ma­tion meet­ing on the de­vel­op­ment at the Ra­mada Inn. Mem­bers of the al­liance were go­ing to gather out­side, wave plac­ards and dis­trib­ute in­for­ma­tion sheets out­lin­ing their con­cerns about the project.

“High-risk in­di­vid­u­als, such as users of hard drugs and peo­ple with se­vere men­tal dis­or­ders such as schizophre­nia, should not be housed with, or next door to, the vul­ner­a­ble,” reads part of the leaflet.

BC Hous­ing says the project would be sim­i­lar to a 51-unit res­i­den­tial com­plex that has opened at 1642 Com­merce Ave. It’s a three­storey mod­u­lar struc­ture, where on-site ser­vices in­clude life skills train­ing, em­ploy­ment as­sis­tance, and re­fer­ral to com­mu­nity ser­vices and sup­port groups.

“This build­ing will pro­voke an en­vi­ron­ment that is sup­port­ive, that meets peo­ple where they’re at,” Ann Howard of BC Hous­ing said last week dur­ing a me­dia tour of the Com­merce Av­enue res­i­dence.

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