Okanagan school district monitoring McCurdy supportive housing plan debate

Top priority for board of education is to maintain safety integrity of local schools

Central Okanagan Public Schools is keeping an eye on the McCurdy Road supportive housing project.

After their July 17 meeting, the school board issued a formal statement that the school district is continuing to assess the circumstances surrounding the BC Housing project.

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The statement admitted the school board has no authority, either locally or provincially, in decisions on the approval process. However, school trustees and district staff continue to gather information on all points of view and understand the logistics behind this particular project.

“When the City of Kelowna and the Province of B.C. reach a final decision on the nature of the project, the board of education and district staff will be able to comment knowledgeably on our position going forward,” said the statement.

Kevin Kaardal, Central Okanagan school superintendent/CEO, told the Capital News the board will follow up with more discussion on the McCurdy proposal in September.

“Safety is a first priority for us in the school district so that is one of the things we are looking at based on what the facts are,” Kaardal said.

RELATED: Public forum fails to ease Rutland residents’ frustration over McCurdy house

He noted not all the information being voiced publicly about the project is accurate, and it has been subject to change given BC Housing’s decision this past week to abandon the original “wet” facility concept for the McCurdy project due to public opposition.

Kaardal said the board is well aware of the concerns registered by parents at Rutland Junior Secondary and Rutland Senior Secondary, both schools within a block of the McCurdy site where, under the wet facility concept, residents would have been able to maintain their drug addictions under health care supervision.

RELATED: Drive-thru petition against McCurdy house garners thousands of signatures

“Whatever form it takes, this facility is not opening until 2021 so there is time yet for the board to gather all the facts and to give an informed response,” he said.

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