Oyama homeowners Roxana and Bruce Adams say they are ready and willing to accept Syrian refugees and have Lake Country's approval to do it. Others say a rural setting may not the best place.

Oyama couple ready to welcome refugees: Lake Country council gives zoning approval

Roxana and Bruce Adams of Living Water Certified Organic vineyard are ready while not everyone thinks rural setting works

An Oyama vineyard owner has decided to follow her heart and not give into fear.

Roxana Adams and her husband Bruce are making a carriage house on their property available to house Syrian refugees if needed and have received the proper approval from the District of Lake Country to make it possible.

The couple, who operate Living Water Certified Organic Vineyard, received a temporary use permit that will allow them to house refugees on their nearly six acre Oyama property if the need arises.

“This is a humanitarian issue that affects the whole world,” said Roxana. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my lifetime. We talked about it and our carriage house is empty for most of the winter. We just thought ‘why not?’ I think some people will say ‘not in my backyard,’ but I think that’s coming from people’s fears and not being led by their heart. There are a very few number of people that are the ones that are terrorists. It’s miniscule. These people are leaving something that is really bad and I agree that we should be doing our part to help.”

Adams added that she believes the Canadian government has and will continue to do an excellent job of screening.

“It is the very vulnerable that are being allowed in,” she said. “Women and children, families and often relatives of families already here, well-educated families and many that have been waiting through this refugee process for a few years now, already in the system,” she said.

The Adams’ appeared at Lake Country council earlier this month to ask for the special permit to allow for housing refugees, something that is not accepted under their agri-tourism designation.

Two members of the public spoke up against the application and the district also received a few letters on the issue. All people who wrote or spoke against the move said they support efforts to help refugees but said a vineyard in Oyama that has agri-tourism designation was not the proper spot.

In a letter to Lake Country council Rosemary Misfeldt said she is in favour of helping out refugees but said a more urban area would be better for several reasons including the refugees potential isolation, lack of transportation and lack of contact with other refugees.

But at the vineyard, Adams said a rural setting might be just what is needed for a family who has been through what the Syrian refugees are dealing with and added Oyama Traditional School is very close to her location and the school bus goes right past their home.

She said church groups, who have taken the lead on bringing refugees into Canada, will work with families to help with transportation and becoming immersed in the community.

“The churches get very involved with getting them to family dinners and intermingling with other people that are already here with their own families,” said Adams who stressed she feels it is important for Canadians to make refugees welcome. “It’s really important that the youth are felt like they are welcomed because that is the group that will carry on. We have to make them welcome. That’s where our heart has to lead over our fear.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gun enthusiasts arrive in Kelowna for the Western Canadian Skeet Championship

The competition will be held from July 17-19, 2020 in Joe Rich

Police keep eye on motorbike gang in Kelowna for poker run

The Throttle Lockers Motorcycle Club Poker Run was to have taken place on July 11

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Summerland approves solar project

Despite community opposition, council voted 4-3 for Cartwright Mountain location

Police search for suspect in assault on woman in downtown Kelowna

Kelowna police received a report a woman had been assaulted by an unknown man on July 12

‘Trauma equals addiction’ – why some seek solace in illicit substances

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Two positive COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm

The risk of exposure to the general public related to this farm is considered to be low

Oliver Town Hall closed to public as staffer displays COVID-19 symptoms

One staff member at Oliver Town Hall is being tested for coronavirus

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Most Read