Housing critics

Thousands of people opposed plans for a supportive housing project on McCurdy Road in Rutland. Now, the City of Kelowna is developing a new plan to better integrate such controversial developments into residential areas.

Approvals may have been given, but opponents of a supportive housing complex in Rutland say their fight isn’t over.

About 150 people gathered Sunday at the corner of Rutland Road and McCurdy Road to denounce plans for the 49-suite project.

Kelowna city council issued the final permit for the proposal a week ago, with Mayor Colin Basran saying it was time for project critics to stop complaining about the undertaking.

Some of the people at Sunday’s protest held signs that mentioned Basran by name, accusing him of being out of touch with what they said was overwhelming community opposition to the supportive housing complex.

“Basran, how would you feel if this was your neighbourhood?” eight-year-old Logan Kolenc had written on his sign.

Critics worry the supportive housing complex, designed for homeless people and those with addiction issues, will worsen existing area problems.

The message on one sign: “Our neighbourhood is filled with junkies and thieves.”

Although B.C. Housing has already provided funding, as part of the NDP government’s provincewide strategy to address homelessness, critics of the supportive housing complex said they nonetheless hoped the Crown corporation would reconsider.

“I’m opposed to it because of the proximity to the schools,” Christopher Bocskei said. “We have 1,000 kids and youth pass this corner every day.

“This is a disaster waiting to happen,” Bocskei said. “We need to protect our kids. Our community is going to be subjected to drugs and petty crime.

“We’ll be out on the streets until the job is done, until our kids are safe,” he said.