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Letters  

Shall we do lunch?

It was interesting and heartbreaking to read of Mayor Basran's invitation to Kelowna residents to join him for a luncheon at the Coast Capri Hotel (Nov. 12) to voice suggestions on such subjects as "how to improve the city's quality of life."

We only wish he would show concern for our quality of life. Those of us living in Rutland or around Agassiz Road. But, the truth is, that he and his partners at BC Housing have spent the last few years destroying the quality of life in Rutland neighbourhoods and are about to do the same to Agassiz Road.

When we around Agassiz Road were first told of the planned "wet facility" in our neighbourhood, we told council that we feared parachuting a large group of illegal drug users into our quiet and safe neighbourhood would result in open and public drug use, open and public drug trafficking, open and public prostitution, rampant property crime and a drop in the value of our homes.

We begged them to safeguard our quality of life. Instead, we were criticized as hysterical, fear-mongering NIMBYs and told that past studies show no such negative impacts on neighbourhoods when low-barrier housing is established.

Now, here we are, 17 months later, and all of our fears have been realized.

No, the facility has not yet opened, but many of our neighbours have already suffered from a drastic loss of property value when they have attempted to sell their homes. And every single one of the rest of our fears have now played out in front of our eyes in the neighbourhoods closest to Hearthstone and Heath House.

The residents of those neighbourhoods have had their lives turned upside down and are being terrorized by residents of those two buildings and the associated "hangers on" that now control their streets.

Public drug use - Yes. Public drug trafficking - Yes. Public prostitution - Yes. Rampant property crime - Yes. Loss of property value - Yes. And worst of all, loss of quality of life. And loss of peace of mind and sense of security.

Please imagine this playing out in your neighbourhood.

Mayor Basran, will you please change course on this "low-barrier harm-reduction supportive housing" that appears to not be working. 

We beseech the rest of Kelowna to please call on our leaders to help those of us who are paying such a painful and drastic cost for BC Housing's and city council's vision of the solution to homelessness. It is disproportionately affecting certain areas of our city, but will eventually affect all of Kelowna.

Helmut and Susan Herwig



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