Kelowna’s Gospel Mission courtyard officially opened for use on September 14, 2016. It was a glorious day for a grand opening, celebrating creative community and this safe gathering space which will graciously welcome our city’s most vulnerable for years to come.
A special congratulations to poets Norm and Nobu, whose meaningful and honest words now grace the walls in brightly coloured steel panels. Lesley-Anne Evans was invited to commission and mentor the poets throughout the creative process from ideation to installation.
Leon Avenue has often been cluttered with the personal belongings of those served by the Gospel Mission – causing complaints about the eyesore. Randy Benson, Executive Director with the Gospel Mission, says there was no place for clients to wait for services outside except the sidewalk, but that has now changed.
“This is a welcoming space; we want people to feel like they’re appreciated,” Randy said. “We have staff here so we want people who are out here to be able to engage with our staff.”
Chris is one of the Gospel Mission’s clients who has been using the courtyard space. He says staff allow him to woodwork in the space, a favourite pastime of his.
“I am very lucky to be here. I like the environment and it keeps my mind off of things. It is a safe place and drug-free zone. I really enjoy it,” said Chris.
The KGM courtyard project was coordinated by the British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects – Interior Chapter, with wide community involvement. Well done dreamers and creatives and politicians and donors and accounts people and hard labourers and craftsmen. Well done team, well done!!!