Account Login/Registration

Access KelownaNow using your Facebook account, or by entering your information below.


Facebook


OR


Register

Privacy Policy

Homeless population getting the boot from Leon Avenue

After plenty of pushback from residents, the City of Kelowna will be taking steps to move the homeless population of Leon Avenue away from the downtown street today.

The decision finally comes after an inspection by the Kelowna Fire Department deemed the living conditions on Leon to be "too hazardous."

People will be told to pack up their belongings and leave the area early this afternoon, but they aren’t being left without a place to go.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia

The City has established a pair of spots where the homeless population will be permitted to go set up their tents for temporary overnight shelter.

"A section at the base of Knox Mountain Park near Poplar Point Road (565 Poplar Point Rd.) and a park off Recreation Avenue (551 Recreation Ave.) will be set up for people who need to shelter outdoors overnight," says a release from the City.

"People will be permitted to set up shelter at 7 p.m. and required to remove their shelter by 9 a.m. the next morning, unlike on Leon Avenue where sheltering was allowed 24/7."

<who>Photo Credit: Google Maps

By law in British Columbia, when there's insufficient housing and shelter space for people experiencing homelessness, the City isn't allowed to prohibit those people from seeking overnight shelter in every park or public space.

City officials previously identified Leon as the one spot where those people could set up tents for the night, but today's decision changes that.

“The properties were selected based on a number of factors that considered the current use, amenities and programming at the site, the accessibility of the site not only for the people sheltering there, but also for emergency services, and the distance to services in the core of the city,” said Darren Caul, the City's community safety director.

<who>Photo Credit: Google Maps</who>The spot near the base of Knox Mountain is a popular frisbee golf course, but it's not a sport played very much in the winter.

<who>Photo Credit: Google Maps</who>The other spot is located directly beside the Kelowna Curling Club.

A pair of security personnel will monitor the sites daily between 6 pm and 10 am, while both Bylaw Services and RCMP officers will step up their presence in the two neighbourhoods.

Basic amenities, including washroom facilities, garbage disposal, sharps disposal, bottled water and daytime storage, will be provided on both sites.

While the City hopes this is a step in the right direction, Caul says that overnight sheltering in public spaces is still not a long-term solution.

“Through the Journey Home Strategy, the City will continue to advocate for the provincial government and community groups to provide additional supportive and scattered housing to eliminate the need for people to shelter outdoors.”



Support local journalism by clicking here to make a one-time contribution or by subscribing for a small monthly fee. We appreciate your consideration and any contribution you can provide.


Visit our Facebook page to comment on this story.

Sign up for local eNews delivered to your inbox by 7 am every day.

Send your comments, news tips, letter to the editor, photos and videos to news@kelownanow.com.

To report a typo, send an email to news@kelownanow.com.



Weather


Thu
11℃


Fri
10℃


Sat
10℃


Sun
8℃


Mon
9℃


Tue
9℃

Top Stories

Follow Us

Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Follow us on Linkedin Follow us on Youtube Listen on Soundcloud Follow Our RSS
Privacy Policy