When Jody Good heads in to work, he never knows what he’ll find left on his property thanks to the homeless people who reside there after he goes home at night.

Good, who owns Mould Engineering on Lawrence Avenue, said it was eye opening moving his business from Glenmore to downtown.

Photo Credit Savannah Bagshaw / KelownaNow

“Our building was kind of spot for people to do [drug] drops it seems like. So they would come in the back area and look under the rocks for their stash,” he explained. “We were down here with our kids and you go, ‘Well, maybe it’s not safe to have the kids in the back alley.’”

The fence bordering the front of their building is five and a half feet tall, but that doesn’t stop people from sliding through or jumping over it.

Photo Credit Savannah Bagshaw / KelownaNow

“This fence isn’t considered good enough to keep people out of here and you’re not allowed to have spikes to it or make it even more daunting. It already feels like a bit of a prison,” said Good.

People move the benches in the front yard to the side of the building (where it’s darker), and leave remnants of their fun, including needles, condoms and even a bible once and awhile, behind.

Photo Credit Savannah Bagshaw / KelownaNow

“Anything you can imagine you’ll find in here on any given day or weekend,” Good said.

Good and his employees are tasked with the daily chore of cleaning up the mess in both the front and back of their property. About every second or third day, they have to call someone in to pick up a dirty needle, and they have to clean up feces on the back step frequently.

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“I try not to get too frustrated by it, but it’s more of an annoyance on a daily basis when we come to work and we’re cleaning up constantly,” he said. “But if you let it bother you too much...it’s just going to eat at you.

“So you learn to live with it, basically, and you learn to accept it, even though I don’t think it’s acceptable.”

Photo Credit Kristy Gevers Photography

Besides the mess, there is also the damage to property. People have broken windows, lamp posts and one motion-censored light repeatedly.

“A couple of the buildings have paid for security all hours of the day,” Good explained, of other businesses in the area. “So each individual landowner down here, we can spend more money on fencing, but if we do a really good job on our own property, then what we’ve done is just moved it over to the next neighbour.”

Photography from Kristy Gevers Photography

Good said he thinks homelessness in Kelowna should be dealt with in a new way, with a real solution, because the downtown core has potential to be a lot better.

“It’s got a hub feel, a vibe to it that’s growing, so it’s nice to be a part of that. But there is definitely some downsides,” Good said. “I think it stands in the way of creating a vibrant, safe, clean downtown.

“There’s got to be other areas where [the homeless] can get help and support instead of in the downtown hub."

Photo Credit Kristy Gevers Photography

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