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City, province condemn assault near planned shelter site

A 21-year-old man was punched by a passerby after removing anti-homeless shelter leaflets; BC Housing said it is looking into adding security
anti-homeless shelter sign
This message opposing the planned Moira House shelter on Kingston Avenue in North Kamloops was among those seen attached to fencing on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

Provincial and local politicians are condemning an attack that took place near the planned Moira House shelter location on Kingston Avenue in North Kamloops earlier this week. On Nov. 29, a 21-year-old man with autism spectrum disorder was punched in the face by a passerby who took offence to the victim’s work removing anti-shelter leaflets from a fence surrounding the city-owned site that will be home to the homeless shelter.

On Friday, Dec. 3, the City of Kamloops and provincial government released a joint statement from Mayor Ken Christian and Attorney General David Eby in response to news of the attack.

“We were shocked and appalled to hear of this behaviour in Kamloops and want to make it clear that we will not tolerate violence of any kind,” the joint statement reads.

“While people may have differences of opinion on how best to support community members experiencing homelessness, violence is not a solution. It is counterproductive and unacceptable.”

Kamloops Mounties are investigating the assault. Anybody with information is asked to call the detachment at 259-828-3000 and reference file number 2141604.

As a result of the assault, BC Housing is looking into additional security features at the site, including adding lighting and a security guard.

The statement adds that while some people have concerns about the shelter, appropriate channels have been set up to create dialogue. BC Housing invoked paramountcy, a legislative tool that bypasses local regulations and consultation, in order to establish the Kingston Avenue shelter.

Online information sessions, during which residents can ask questions, will begin next week for the Kingston Avenue shelter location and for two additional shelters planned in Kamloops — at the former Stuart Wood elementary downtown and in the former Greyhound building in Southgate.

The public information session on the Kingston Avenue shelter is on Wednesday, Dec. 8 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. To register, go online to https://letstalkhousingbc.ca/kamloops-kingston-avenue.

The shelter is expected to open next week.