'Kelowna is at capacity': evacuees face long waitlists for hotel rooms

'Kelowna is at capacity'

Emergency support services are struggling to find a place to house evacuees from the Mount Law and White Rock Lake wildfires as tourism and fire season end up at odds in the Central Okanagan.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations EOC director Brian Reardon told reporters Monday “Kelowna is at capacity with respect to hotel rooms.”

“We are exploring other options including mass housing, however COVID-19 protocols are impeding our efforts in that respect, so we are looking further south and west of Kelowna,” he added.

The City of Penticton activated an evacuee reception centre on Sunday night and cots were laid on the floor of Mount Boucherie Secondary in West Kelowna.

About 1,000 people were displaced by Mount Law fire in Glenrosa on Sunday night, adding to the thousands already out of their homes due to the White Rock Lake along Westside Road.

Last week, the provincial government asked tourists to leave the North Okanagan to make room for evacuees from the large fires in the region.

Castanet News has placed requests with West Kelowna mayor Gord Milsom and Kelowna mayor Colin Basran to inquire if they are prepared to make similar statements.

The Walmart parking lot in West Kelowna is now filled with campers and RVs of Glenrosa residents.

One evacuee at the evacuee reception centre on Sutherland Avenue told Castanet Monday there is a waiting list of more than 100 for a hotel room in the Kelowna area.

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