Kelownas Healthy Housing Strategy to tackle housing crunch

“RCMP fire investigators have now fully completed their examination of the scene,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey of the Kelowna RCMP. “At this time, RCMP are classifying the fire as accidental. As investigational findings at that scene have led police to believe the tragic blaze to be electrical and non-criminal in nature.”

On March 13, at 5:05 a.m., RCMP were called upon to assist the Kelowna Fire Department with a fully engulfed residential structure fire in the 2600 block of Springfield Road in Kelowna.

Long-term planning manager James Moore suggested the city look at a rental strategy where incentives are at their lowest when the vacancy rate is low and profitability is high, and increase the incentives when the vacancy rate is higher.

Kelowna mayor says speculation tax on empty homes isnt going to help rental crisis

The RCMP continue to support the BC Coroners Service. Due to the privacy of the deceased, the Coroners Service does not release or confirm identity.

Kelowna RCMP have confirmed the body of a woman was discovered inside a home destroyed by fire on Springfield Road early Tuesday morning.

It is also being recommended the highest level of incentives for affordable rentals be shifted from for-profit to non-profit entities because that form of housing is the most difficult to deliver.

“Witnesses at the scene have told police that four occupants, including a man, a woman and 2 children were observed fleeing from their home to safety,” says Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

Council was also reminded Monday the rental vacancy rate in the city does not include what is known as secondary rentals, such as houses, carriage homes and basement suites.

Kelowna mayor defends councils record on affordable, accessible housing

“Investigators believe that the woman re-entered the residence for an unconfirmed reason. Tragically she was not seen re-exiting the home.”

Coun. Gail Given said she believes council needs to move slowly when it comes to changing the incentives offered to developers, especially for rental property development.

Fighting homelessness to continue as a top Kelowna council priority

A neighbour says the woman re-entered the home to retrieve a family pet.

O'Donaghey says the body of a deceased female was located during an interior search of the residence conducted by emergency fire crews.

He adds a passerby noticed the blaze, drove his vehicle into the home's driveway and repeatedly honked his horn to alert those sleeping inside.

A house fire on Springfield Road in Kelowna this morning appears to have claimed a life.

A neighbour tells Castanet he saw a woman run back into the burning home to retrieve a family pet.

Another neighbour told Castanet the fire woke her up just before 5 a.m.

"I was sleeping and I heard this sort of boom, boom, boom, and I thought who the hell at this time of the morning is sitting outside my house with a boom box in their car, because it wasn't moving," she said.

"Then I heard a scream, so I dashed out of bed and looked out the window. The house was fully engulfed."

Three separate fires near downtown Kelowna have fire crews scrambling this morning. 

Five trucks, an ambulance and Fortis Gas, along with dozens of firefighters, are on the scene of a blaze near Harvey Avenue and Kirschner Road. 

One firefighter told Castanet, it is "all hands on deck all morning," and they are "stretched very thin."

One near Gerstmar and Graham, and another at the old CHBC building in downtown.

Emergency crews on scene of a house fire in the 2600 block of Springfield Road this morning. The blaze reportedly broke out at 5:30 a.m.

RCMP tell Castanet news that emergency crews are still on scene battling the early morning residential structure fire, and they are urging motorists to avoid the area as they plan their morning commute. Springfield Road remains closed at this hour between Gerstmar and Graham.

Hydro and ambulance are also on scene. No word on injuries or the extent of the damage at this time.

RCMP have parts of Springfield Road blocked off this morning between Gerstmar and Graham.

The photo shows several cruisers on scene blocking off the intersection.

KELOWNA – Mayor Colin Basran says people who think council’s concern with the provincial speculation tax shows it only caters to the rich and powerful should think again. “The actions this council is taking on affordability issues, availability issues of housing, the Journey Home strategy, the Way Home strategy for youth, our rental housing incentives, the fact this council has approved more purpose-built rental housing than any council in our city’s history,” the mayor said, speaking after Monday’s Kelown council meeting. Basran says he’s seen complaints his council has been one-sided on the homelessness and housing affordability file on social media and says they are unfounded. “There’s a number of different initiatives where if you have been paying attention to what council is actually doing, it paints a different story,” the mayor said. "We don't just care about the one per cent or developers or people outside our community, but it’s a complex situation.” Basran says the two per cent speculation tax introduced in February and extended to Kelowna and West Kelowna caught the city by surprise, but it doesn’t change the philosophy behind its broad-based housing and homelessness strategy. “What we want is a balance for everything. We want a strong economy where people visit our community. We want a community where people from elsewhere invest and we need to ensure our low and moderate income-earners don’t continue to be squeezed out here,” Basran added. "Then our economy really suffers because there’s no one to work the jobs.”

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