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VIDEO: Big worries about tiny homes

The second phase of the roll-out of tiny homes for unhoused people in Kelowna will be placed on the 2700 block of Hwy 97.

The little structures are described as a "safe, warm place to stay," by BC Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon, but some nearby businesses are worried.

The property will be home to 60 individual units built around central washroom and kitchen facilities.

"The design of this project is that services are available on-site," explained City of Kelowna Social Development Manager Colleen Cornock.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

The announcement for 2740 Hwy 97 N comes on the heels of a similar announcement for the first 60-unit tiny home community on Crowley Ave in Kelowna's North End.

Lake House Marine is one of several businesses on McCurdy Place that are just steps away from the new location, and they have already been suffering big losses from theft.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia <who> Brennan Spear, Sales Mgr. Lakehouse Marine

"Unfortunately, we have had some issues with theft in the past," said Lakehouse sales manager Brennan Spear.

He said his two stores on McCurdy Place have seen about $20,000 in losses to theft over the past year.

"We've dealt with theft on boats," Spear explained, "typically, people coming in and removing stereo equipment. Things of value to them that are fairly easy to take."

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

He and other business operators in the area fear this could make matters worse.

"This could bring more people to the area that might not necessarily already be here which ultimately could create more of a situation for us," said Spear.

The City of Kelowna is assuring area business operators that they are listening.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

"We recognize that there are issues in the neighbourhood and we will respond accordingly with our partners in policing and by-law," said Cornock.

But she's confident that this development won't bring more crime.

"I feel confident around the fact that this is a planned location with an experienced operator," said Cornock.

"We're going to be working with the neighbourhood. This isn't a one-and-done where we go in drop it and go. It's around continued engagement with the neighbourhoods."

For the broader community, Cornock said it will not be an eyesore for people entering the city from the north.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

"There's an opportunity for it to have some design elements that are beautification projects," Cornock explained.

"We see this in other municipalities where it fits in quite nicely and looks nice."

Work on the project will begin next month with an expected opening date early in 2024.

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