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Your Voice: Second tiny homes location will only grow Kelowna's 'Third World country' reputation

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Good morning Mayor and Kelowna City Council,

First, let me commend you on taking proactive action on sheltering some of our homeless population. This issue is not going to go away and this council has done more in your initial short term than I've seen done in the past 5-8 years and this tiny homes initiative is at least a step toward providing some shelter especially as winter comes.

With that said, I really have to strongly disagree with the second location that was just announced on Thursday. To place this project on one of the most high profile locations in the city is an absolute head scratcher. You propose to place a community of homeless people and these small shelters right on Hwy 97 (not even tucked back a block or two) in between prominent established businesses, directly across from major car dealerships, etc.

Kelowna already has a national reputation for our homeless problem thanks in large part to Mr. Poilievre comparing Kelowna's homeless problem to a Third World country.

Imagine all the tourists (never mind those of us who live here) making their way from the airport to downtown and having to drive by this extremely high profile location. What about pedestrians that walk along that part of Hwy 97 between businesses?

<who> Photo credit: BC Housing

You must be aware that the rail trail directly behind this location has a huge problem with homeless population, crime, hazards, etc. How do you not realize placing a concentrated population of homeless in this location will exacerbate the issues along the rail trail? Businesses are already dealing with vandalism and sanitary issues daily in this area.

Reading in the local media today that this setup will be a "harm reduction" type of area, meaning open drug use will be permitted and tolerated. Walk down Pandosy between Leon and Lawrence any time of the day to get the idea of what we can expect.

Again I am not criticizing your good intent to help shelter those who need it. The first location you picked for this project is in an industrial area, off the beaten path, not in a location where there are lots of public, etc. In other words a fairly appropriate location, or at least as close to that as you can get.

Placing this right on the single busiest road, the main arterial through Kelowna, a location highly visible to tourists and citizens alike will only further grow Kelowna's reputation as a Third World country type of location because this will be front and centre for everyone to see and deal with.

I am hopeful the city has other vacant land that would be a more appropriate location.

Tourism Kelowna, Chamber of Commerce, local media... I implore you to get involved, bring light to this situation and try to help force a rethink on this decision before they start building this homeless camp in one of the highest profile locations in this city.


Peter Dixon


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