West Kelowna  

Westside eyes a HUB

Communities on the west side of Okanagan Lake have said thanks, but no thanks, to an offer from the City of Kelowna to develop a regional HUB to assist vulnerable individuals at risk.

A HUB brings various teams of health, social service agencies and public safety sectors together to determine how to address the needs of those facing elevated levels of risk.

The city is working with Peachland and Westbank First Nation in hopes of developing its own HUB specific to Westside communities.

Council Tuesday supported an application for a $50,000 provincial grant to develop the program.

Development services general manager Nancy Henderson says there is some resistance from service providers in Kelowna because of time commitments involved. Coun. Doug Findlater agreed.

"Basically, in Kelowna, the service providers see us as competition. If we start up something over here, somehow that is going to impact their resources – and it may very well," said Findlater.

"They don't want to do much service over here, but we have grown to the point where we are 50,000-plus people on the Westside. We're the same size as Penticton, the same size as Vernon, and the bridge is an impediment. I really think this is a great move to start to develop capacity among ourselves."

Henderson added the discussion also highlights the need to lobby for services on the Westside.

The HUB would not only assist the homeless, but other vulnerable people in the community.

"This is much more than about homelessness. These can be seniors isolated on their own who may have health issues, this would allow us to identify and assist those individuals," said Coun. Rick de Jong.

The school district is also involved.

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