Prepared to lose votes

'Prepared to lose votes'

"I am prepared to lose votes, I am prepared to lose friends, because I believe that this is what's best for our community.

"I will stand up for that, and I will look anyone in the eye in regards to that because that is what is best for our community."

With that, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran cast the final affirmative vote as city council approved rezoning and OCP amendments for a four-storey supportive housing project in Rutland for men recovering from addictions.

The vote was 6-3 in favour, with councillors Charlie Hodge, Brad Sieben and Mohini Singh voting against.

"I want to thank my council colleagues for supporting this, because that has taken a lot of political courage for you to do that in light of all of the things that have been said here tonight," added Basran.

A lot was said during an emotionally charged public hearing attended by upwards of 300 people who packed council chambers and spilled out into the foyer Tuesday night.

Sixty people took to the microphone to say their piece, 35 of those against the project at McCurdy and Rutland roads, many of whom live in the neighbourhood.

Some noted there are four schools within a short distance of the apartment building, while others said they are concerned for their children's safety with "those people" around.

One resident who lives next to the property said nobody wants this in their neighbourhood and that the project was getting shoved down their throats.

Others told individual councillors if anything happens, "it's on their head."

Several of those who spoke in favour have a direct connection with Freedom's Door, the recovery house that will operate the facility. They applauded the program and the men who voluntarily enter it.

They stated the men wanted to clean up and stay sober.

While most people spoke about the program's clients in a positive or negative light, it was zoning and land use, not occupancy, that council had to decide.

Coun. Luke Stack said he had no issue with the location or the size, saying it makes sense to him. But, he did read an email that challenged him to make a decision.

"If you can look me in the eye and honestly tell me you would be OK with this building right in the path of your children or your grandchildren, then go ahead and pass it," Stack read.

"I reflected on that, and I can honestly say I can look this woman in the eye and say I am OK with this."

The three who voted against felt the building is not in the right location.

Sieben called this the most difficult decision he has encountered on council.

He said the project is part of the solution, not the problem, adding the city has a lot of drug issues that lead to crime.

While those in the gallery were vehemently opposed, councillors pointed to the Cardington Apartments on St. Paul and a NOW Canada complex on Tutt Street across from Raymer Elementary.

There was strong opposition to both and, by all accounts, there have been no issues at either.

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Historic Surtees' Property gets new life

2017 Sutees gets new life

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102 Day Emergency

From Castanet By Wayne Moore

August 15, 2017

It's been 102 days – and counting. That's how long the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre has been up and running since floods first hit the region in early May.

Kelowna Coun. Luke Stack, sitting in as acting mayor Monday, took the opportunity to thank those who have put in time at the EOC to ensure residents are safe. "They have been doing double duty, as many have been seconded from their regular daily work to take on additional responsibility within the EOC," said Stack. "These folks, for those who don't know, are doing their regular job, and manning the Emergency Operations Centre."

The EOC was activated on May 5 after heavy rains the night before, combined with snowmelt, caused massive flooding throughout the region.The centre also pulled double duty last month after a wildfire in Okanagan Centre displaced hundreds and destroyed eight homes.

Kelowna city manager Ron Mattiussi, who helps oversee the centre, says the real story within those walls is the fact it's been a regional approach. "If you walked into the EOC on any given day, there would be a communication person from Kelowna, or Westbank First Nation, or West Kelowna and an engineer from Peachland," said Mattiussi. "It really was the strength that we could call upon the whole region, and the whole region responded by sending people who were pretty busy, to fill in."

Stack said everyone looks forward to the day when the EOC can be decommissioned, "and our lives can return to normal." While the flood danger has passed, the EOC will remain operational until cleanup is complete.

 

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RCMP Get a new Home

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(Castanet) Kelowna RCMP officers marched through downtown streets to their new headquarters, Tuesday. Dozens of passers-by stopped to take in the parade of Mounties in red serge, auxiliary constables, RCMP volunteers and civilian staff from the regional detachment area.

"This is a really big deal for our community. Most importantly, this will allow the RCMP to do their jobs more efficiently and make our community safer," said Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. 

"It's a very proud moment for myself and the other employees of our building to move into such a state of the art facility. This is the first opportunity I have been able to work in a new detachment," said said Supt. Brent Mundle. "The citizens of Kelowna and the city council have done an outstanding job at providing us with a professional building to do police services from.

"I am pleased to have played a small part in securing this new building for the RCMP."  Luke Stack

Pictured below L-R C/Supt. Brad Haugli; Councillor Maxine Dehart, District Commander Brenda Butterworth-Carr and Councillor Luke Stack.

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MOU signed with Westbank First Nation

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan and the Westbank First Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the protection and conservation of cultural heritage sites in the Regional Parks. Pictured here is Chair Given and Chief Roxanne Lindley signing the official documents. This is another important step on our journey of reconciliation with indiginous people in our region. I was honored to be a Board member of the Regional District and support this important initiative. (Picture taken at Two Eagles resort)

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New Infill Housing

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Rental Building Boom in Kelowna

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Kelowna is finally getting some much needed rental housing. 

 

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May is Asian Heritage Month in Kelowna

We celebrated the opening of Asian Heritage Month in Kelowna last night at a celebration at the Okanagan College. The focus this year is on Japan. Featured performances by Alcin Ryuzen Ramos, Yaabiko Taiko and Sensei Chris Taneda (Karate). Pictured above are the many children in attendance singing along with Alcvin.

2017 Asian Heritage 

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Mission Creek Restoration Award

2017 Mission Creek Restoration pic

Congratulations to Todd Cashin, of the City of Kelowna, for being recognized by his peers for the Mission Creek Restoration Project. This multi-partnership team is a great example of making a significant environmental improvement to this valued creek in Kelowna. The award is from the "Species and Ecosystems at Risk Local Government Working Group."  In this picture Todd is being recognized by Deputy Mayor Mohinni Singh and all of Kelowna City Council. 

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Council - Midterm check-in

Kelowna City Council is at the mid point in its four year term. This editorial was posted by Alistair Waters of the Capital News

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