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Kelowna  

Building is beautiful, but...

It's time for action, not complaints.

Those were the comments of some on council after unanimously approving a development permit for a controversial four-storey, 52-unit supportive housing development on Agassiz Road.

Several months ago, council listened near unanimous outrage from members of the neighbourhood opposed to the housing, but approved the project.

Monday, the developer came forward with the detailed design, looking for approval on the form and character of the four-storey, 52-unit development.

Council was unanimous in its support for the look of the building, but that didn't curtail the social commentary

"This project like many is helping to address the homeless issue. But, what we have in Kelowna now that we need to deal with now is a drug war, and we're losing it," said Coun. Charlie Hodge, who was very supportive of the design, but not the purpose or location.

"We need to have the help. Those with the ability to help us, the federal and provincial government need to get into it."

Coun. Loyal Wooldridge, who also supported the design, went further, imploring those outraged about the lack of "wrap-around" support services, to "call on our Ministry of Health and Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions to step up and properly fund our addiction services."

He went further, suggesting those who say Journey Home is incomplete are off base.

"We are still in need of $26 million over the next five years to create over 500 new program spaces to meet the proposed milestones of the Journey Home strategy. The opioid crisis is a health crisis, and there needs to be political will at provincial, federal and municipal levels to put partisan politics aside and work together to implement long-term solutions.

"We cannot keep funding programs when one government is in power, and de-funding them when there is a change in government. This is a huge waste of time and resources and causes human resource problems at the operational level. As much as we invest in housing, we need long-term investment in programs and personnel."

He implored those speaking out against supportive housing to direct those to both health ministries to fund services desperately needed.

"I appeal to the opposition Health Critic and our own MLA Norm Letnick to do the same."



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