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Kelowna  

Council yes on Agassiz Rd.

UPDATE: 2 a.m.

By an 8-0 vote, Kelowna city council approved rezoning for a controversial supportive housing complex on Agassiz Road.

Neighbours around the property, most of them seniors, have been up in arms about the project ever since it was announced, and the fight may not be over.

The residents association says it will now seek an injunction to stop the project from going forward.

"The property at 2025 Agassiz Road was sold to a developer and then on to BC Housing. There is a covenant that St. Peter and St. Paul Church put on the property for the benefit of the neighbourhood restricting the height of any development to two-storeys," said residents association director Richard Taylor.

"The City of Kelowna knew about this covenant and advised BC Housing to purchase this land, and did not disclose to them the covenant existed on this land. Based on that, we believe we have an injunctive right to stop this development while we negotiate with BC Housing about the nature of this development."

City clerk Stephen Fleming says as far as he knows there is no covenant of any sort registered on the property.

He said there may have been discussion at the time of the original sale to a developer, but nothing was registered. He added BC Housing looked into it and indicated there was nothing to the allegation.

If they are unsuccessful, Taylor says the residents will work with BC Housing to make the arrangement work.

The decision to support the rezoning came just before 1 a.m. after a lengthy, and lively public hearing, where 67 people addressed council.

Thirty-four spoke against the project, most of those saying they support housing the homeless but were fearful because, as a wet facility, those housed in the 52-unit apartment would be allowed to use drugs or alcohol inside the facility.

Most of the 33 people in favour talked about the need to get the people who need help off the streets and into a home where they could recapture their "dignity", and begin the process of turning their lives around.

Barring any decision by the courts, fourth reading will come back to council at the same time a development permit application is brought forward.

That's expected within the next few months.


ORIGINAL 6 p.m.

Kelowna city council is in for a long night, as it gets ready to hear from the public on a controversial supportive housing project.

Residents of the Aggasiz Road area, many of those seniors, have voiced their disapproval, holding rallies and protests for several months to try and stop the project, proposed by BC Housing.

Council gave first and second reading to the project in late November, paving the way for the public hearing.

The magnitude of the debate prompted the city to hold the hearing on a special night.

Still, it's expected to take several hours to weigh through presentations by staff and BC Housing, and hear from the public.

As of Thursday morning, about 60 people had put their name on a speakers list. Speakers are allowed up to five minutes to address council.

As well, 180 pieces of correspondence were received by the clerks office, 140 in support and just 40 opposed. However, a petition with about 600 names against the project was also received.

Depending on the length of the meeting, council could make a decision tonight, or keep the hearing open, and wait to make a decision.

Thursday's public hearing begins at 6.



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