Wet housing gets 2nd look

UPDATE: 4:55 p.m.

Some Rutland residents, upset with the possibility of a "wet" supportive housing facility in their neighbourhood, are pleased with a decision by council to give it another look.

Audra Boudreau, who presented a 14,000 name petition to council prior to Monday's meeting, says an announcement by Mayor Colin Basran is a "positive step."

"I think it shows potential, that they are actually listening to the thousands and thousands of residents who have spoken out against such a facility being placed by schools and concentrations of seniors," said Boudreau outside council chambers.

"Perhaps they are finally getting it."

Boudreau believes the building would be ideal as low-income senior's housing, something she says is desperately needed in the city.

ORIGINAL 2:35 p.m.

Withering criticism by residents of Rutland appears to have won them a small battle in their opposition to a so-called "wet" supportive housing facility.

At Monday's city council meeting, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran acknowledged the blistering feedback from those opposed to the low-barrier housing for addicts and the homeless.

A petition against the facility, which would be within 500 metres of three schools, has garnered 14,000 signatures.

As several residents waited in council chambers to voice their displeasure, Basran announced what he called "a positive step for the community in light of the feedback we have received over the past few weeks."

The mayor said he has been in ongoing discussions with Housing Minister Selena Robinson about the operating model of the development.

And, he has asked for more time to consider the matter, specifically at a special meeting of council Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Basran said this is still within the ministry's "reconsideration period" under the Municipal Act and will "allow for more time for discussion between council and the minister about potential changes to the operating model currently proposed."

While that doesn't necessarily mean the wet model may be changed to dry housing, where no drugs or alcohol are allowed on site, it does open the door "to allow further conversations to be had."

Coun. Mohini Singh added: "This is not a delay tactic, but an honest, sincere effort in finding a compromise and something that is good for the entire community."

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