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Kelowna  

Issues mount downtown

A Kelowna woman and her husband were chased by a homeless man spouting vulgar and threatening rhetoric.

A car parked on Leon Avenue was the object of a woman's rage as she "put the boots" to the front end of the vehicle.

That was just Wednesday in downtown Kelowna.

These come on the heels of other reported confrontations between residents and the downtrodden in the downtown area – incidents some business owners, employees and residents say make them scared to come downtown.

Shortly before 7 a.m. Wednesday, a woman said she had driven her husband to work at a construction site on Ellis Street. She parked in the alley by the site entrance when a man sleeping in an entranceway roused and began yelling at them.

They drove away, but the man continued to follow, "shouting obscenities and threatening us with violence."

"Every alley and street we went down, there he was, shouting and running at us, screaming that he was going to break our faces."

She said she feels conflicted because there is a "fine line between my comfortable life and the existence of this man we encountered this morning."

Later in the day, several witnesses watched as a woman kicked in the front fender of a vehicle parked on Leon, near the medical lab. She did extensive damage, and tore off the side mirror.

One business owner who witnessed the incident says she has had her vehicle broken into numerous times over the past year. It's bad enough that she decided to sell it.

Another woman who works in an office at Lawrence and Abbott says she's been approached and accosted by people as she walks to work in the morning.

Carole says she's been forced to call police numerous times.

"Just trying to get to the office, to get inside and lock the door, can be a challenge," she said. "I've had to change my driving route, and I'm tired of it. It never used to be this way."

Carole says she's scared because the homeless population just continues to grow. And, she says they are becoming more violent.

"The city really needs to do something about it before they take over our downtown, and you see nothing but a glorified (Vancouver) Downtown Eastside."



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