A special needs centre in West Kelowna is moving due to issues with a neighbouring business.
Class of West K, which is located in West Kelowna’s Plaza 97, offers behaviour intervention programs, autism and ADHD support to families with children who have behaviour and cognitive disabilities.
Owner Donna Toy said they opened in April and things were going well until about two weeks after they opened when they received their first complaint.
The issue? The children at the centre are loud.
“A lot of the kids we have are non-verbal and they can’t communicate their needs by talking, so some of them are quite behavioural. In that behaviour, there’s some stomping, jumping, some of the kids self-stimulate as well, so they are quite noisy. But we are trying to work through those behaviours and help them to find other more ‘socially acceptable’ behaviours,” Toy said.
She said Kevin Le, the owner of Elegant Nail & Spa in Westbank, went to the landlord to complain about the noise.
After that first complaint, Toy and her husband remodelled the centre to offer better soundproofing.
“We completely rearranged the entire centre – we moved the noisier kids out to another area, hoping that was going to make a difference. But it didn’t.”
Toy said the complaints got worse and worse, to the point they would hear the nail salon owner bang on the centre’s floor seven to eight times a day. She said this started to impact the kids, especially those dealing with sensory issues, who started to have a negative response to being in the centre.
“It just got to the point where I went to the landlord and asked him to release me from the lease.”
Le, who owns the nail salon in the unit under Class of West K, said the situation has had a negative impact on his business, even though it has nothing to do with the nail salon.
“They’re attacking my business. They’re leaving bad reviews online, but it has nothing to do with my job or my service,” Le said.
He said he only hit the ceiling when the noise from upstairs got to be too much.
“I only do it to let them know it’s getting too loud, nothing else. I don’t go out and do anything to them, I just let them know it’s too loud.”
Le insisted all he was upset about was the fact that people are leaving negative reviews on his business page about his personal conduct instead of reviewing his actual service.
In any case, Class of West K is moving somewhere else after months of trying to find a solution to appease Le’s nail salon.
“As much as this sounds like a negative thing, in some respects it’s good. Especially with Starbright closing, there are more kids out there that need service,” Toy said.
“Because there are more kids, we’re now moving to a bigger centre so we can offer more services to other families in the community.”
“We’ll be staying in West Kelowna, just moving a block down into a centre double the size of our old one. If we’re to talk about the positives, we’re moving to bigger premises and we’ll be able to offer better services and more services to children who need it.”