Kelowna is fast becoming a sprawling metropolis in the BC interior. Mutli-faceted developments are becoming an expectation throughout the city, however little to no consultation from local neighbourhoods has increasingly become the norm. Seemingly unbridled growth can only contribute to the skyrocketing unaffordability of living in Kelowna, as well as a rampant increase in homelessness, drug-abuse and crime. It's not only our responsibility, but our duty to protect and nurture future generations. As the fastest growing neighbourhood of young families in Kelowna, we must work together to deliver opportunities and safety for Rutland's youth.
I strongly believe we need to provide an adequate social safety net for the most vulnerable. $633 million dedicated by the province of BC to address homelessness and drug-abuse, is making seemingly zero impact closest to home. We need councilors that can foster discourse and amplify public visibility on our issues. We don't need to raise another penny, we just need real oversight and reform on our social spending programs.
Subsidized housing is a core element to addressing our homelessness issues. Rehabilitive and transitional housing such as the wet and dry-housing complexes around Kelowna, have become hubs of crime, drug paraphernalia and open drug use. Supportive housing units must be built away from our community's parks, schools, and vulnerable youth and senior populations.
Kelowna demands additional affordable housing units. Affordable or supportive housing should be placed in communities with the right support infrastructure in place. Communities such as Rutland have carried far more than their share of supportive housing units, it's time to work with a broader plan for supportive housing that involves the city as a whole.
Rutland Middle School is 70 years old and needs to be replaced. The building is too small for the student population with 10 portables being used for 40% of the students. There is only 1 girls bathroom and 1 boys bathroom for the whole school (including the portables). There is no wheelchair access to the second floor, where the library and many classrooms are.
There have been many multi million dollar projects completed in our school district over the past few years where new schools have been built or even expanded and renovated but Rutland Middle School continues to be ignored and in turn it is degrading.
Our city council must work with school trustees and district no. 23 to advocate for a replacement school. Let's collectively work on forming a planning commitee, hosting public consultations and revisiting the project identification report developed for Rutland Middle School.
At issue in this video is homelessness, affordability and drug abuse in the city, and a conversation around potential solutions, or a posture that Kelowna city council can adopt moving forward.