Facility will 'hurt, harm'

Alanna Kelly

Petition organizers opposing a “wet” supportive housing facility in Rutland say they will exceed the 13,000 signatures they were hoping to achieve. 

Drivers flocked to Springvalley Middle School parking lot on Sunday and eagerly signed a petition to try and change the facility from wet to dry. A dry facility would mean tenants are not allowed to drink alcohol or use other drugs while staying there. 

Castanet published a story on Saturday saying organizers needed 13,000 signatures and on Sunday they believe they have exceeded that number.

“Our expectation is that we are going to pass our, 13,000 mark that we have been trying to get which would represent 10 per cent of the voting population in Kelowna,” said Audra Boudreau.

She debates that the facility is not going to help addicts and it will hurt and harm the people in the area.

“That is the paramount concern, that it is a wet facility,” she said. “There are so many more productive uses for that property that would actually help people.”

Boudreau says low-income family housing, senior housing or a dry facility would be better suited. 

“This will only hurt the community,” she said. 

Concerned resident Tania Gustafson says there are about 2,700 kids in the area who would be impacted by the wet facility and believes the petition will make a change.

“I believe that if enough people speak up, then yes we can do some change,” said Gustafson. 

She says her nephew has struggled with drug addiction and that from her experience, a wet facility is not the answer. 

“There are a few programs in Kelowna that are very great but they are maxed out and you can’t get in there and I know this because my nephew is one of those people out there that has tried to apply to some different places and they’ve been full,” she said. “He got into a facility that was wet and he lasted a week. 

Organizers hope that Kelowna City Council will take the signatures and try to change the facility to a dry facility. 

“If they say or do nothing, what they are saying is your families do not count,” said Boudreau. 

Boudreau said MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country Norm Letnick has told them he will table their petition in the Legislature if they hit the 10 per cent mark.

If you want to sign the petition you have until Tuesday and you can do so at the Mac’s Convenience store at the corner of McCurdy and Rutland roads.

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