Kelowna city council has unanimously approved the rezoning application for 2025 Agassiz Rd. that will pave the way for 52-unit supportive housing facility.
The decision came at the end of a marathon council session that carried on well past 1 a.m. and saw more than 60 speakers come forward at City Hall.
Kelowna city council was met with waves of speakers, many of whom raised concerns about allowing a “wet” supportive housing facility in such proximity to a large community of seniors.
Residents of the surrounding Ambrosi, Barlee and Aggasiz Roads comprised nearly every voice speaking against the project, arguing the project endangered their safety, devalued their properties and has gone ahead without proper public consultation.
However, that was not enough to sway even a single councillor, all of whom preached tolerance and patience to residents in moving forward with the project.
“Doing nothing is not an option, moving this forward is far better than doing nothing. I think it will integrate well,” said Councillor Luke Stack.
“These are homes, homes need to be in residential areas. This is the best model moving forward,” commented Councillor Gail Given.
“Both sides need to try and understand each other better,” suggested Brad Sieben.
Councillor Charlie Hodge, fresh off a stay in KGH's critical care unit, commented that he has lived on the same street has a John Howard society home and never had one issue.
“Experts believe this is the best path forward. This is not a popular decision, but in my heart it is the right choice,” said Mayor Colin Basran.
According to BC Housing, despite the facility allowing drugs and alcohol on site, not all residents will be users.
Representatives of BC Housing made clear that there is a long list of applicants in line for the complex's 52 beds and that residents are vetted before being accepted into the home.
Once accepted, residents are held on behaviour contracts designed to support positive living situations.