Protests cancel walkabout

An intimate discussion and tour of problem areas around Heath House on Highway 97 with Mayor Colin Basran and a handful of concerned residents Tuesday afternoon was cancelled.

Basran says the walk around was set up by a resident a few weeks ago to have a "constructive conversation to relay concerns of things happening in their neighbourhood."

But, it was cancelled after a number of other residents showed up.

"People wanted to make it more about McCurdy," said Basran.

"The whole purpose was to have a constructive conversation with just a handful of residents, and then the people concerned with McCurdy Road had sort of made it their own. We both agree that what became of it was not what either of us had anticipated. He had no idea that was happening."

Basran said they will meet at city hall in the coming days instead.

Some in the area say a number of RCMP cruisers were stationed at the Petro Can gas station on the Highway, where the walk was scheduled to begin.

Basran said the idea of the meeting and walk around was to talk about ways the city could work with the operator and BC Housing to mitigate some of the issues in the neighbourhood.

Some of those could include community clean-up crews and stepped up security, measures the operator, Canadian Mental Health Association Kelowna, says are now being implemented.

Heath House is a supportive housing project in the former Good Night Inn off Highway 97. It opened in January, and residents have said there have been problems with needles in the area, vandalism and theft since.

Residents around the Knights of Columbus property at McCurdy Road and Rutland Road North have similar concerns after it was announced a similar housing project was coming to their neighbourhood within two years.

While the city is not directly involved in either project, Basran says the city should be able to help either convene the right people, or help contribute to a solution.

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