West Kelowna  

Petition takes issue with homeless shelter at Super 8 Motel

Taking aim at shelter

An online petition aimed at local and provincial politicians, BC Housing and management of the Super 8 Motel in West Kelowna is gaining traction.

The petition, which has received more than 320 signatures as of Sunday evening, is asking that a homeless shelter at the West Kelowna motel be disbanded.

BC Housing established the "isolation site" in early May, securing 40 beds within motel to shelter the homeless as part of the province's response to COVID-19.

Neighbourhood residents are not happy.

"This is BC Housing's attempt to contain a devastating pandemic that they have just placed in our neighborhood," the petition reads in part.

"This is all less than 25 meters from family residences where kids are playing in their back yards, 100m from a large daycare facility and this is what our community’s teenagers need to walk by to get to school.

"This has been erected under the pretense of a "temporary COVID-19 initiative," but this should be alarming to all residents of the area."

The petition claims the shelter was to have been dismantled July 1, but has been extended to September.

"I have visited this property to talk to the individuals staying there, and see exactly what is going on," said K.J. who initiated the petition.

"They are there, congregating in the “wet tents”; they are doing their illegal drugs blatantly and in plain sight. They even have a nurse on site to keep them safe. Our government has set this up in our back yard. What is our government doing to keep us safe and protect us?"

The petition states an empathy for the homeless population, but also points to the government's responsibility to keep communities, and neighbourhoods safe.

"We need to hold our elected officials and government bodies to a higher standard. BC Housing needs to reassess now. Take down the tents and find a better suited location that does not have such a harmful impact on our neighborhoods and school zones."

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