‘I’m so angry I can’t even cry right now’ Candlelight vigil held for Kelowna man who died at homeless camp

Shane Bourdin, a father of three, died at a temporary homeless camp earlier this week

Friends and family gathered at a candlelight vigil at Kelowna’s temporary overnight shelter at Recreation Park on Wednesday night to pay their respects to Shane Bourdin, a father of three who died in the area earlier this week.

During the event, approximately 75 people held glow sticks and candles around a memorial to honour Bourdin and the loved ones he left behind.

One person who traveled all the way from Alberta to attend the ceremony was Bourdin’s mother Theresa Whittier.

During the event, Whittier said she was frustrated that nothing more had been done to save her son’s life while he was camping in the cold.

“I’m so angry I can’t even cry right now. My son died being out here,” said Whittier.

“Now that he’s died, the city is rushing to put all these people indoors. Why did this not happen while my son was still alive?”

Whittier said her son has left behind a number of close family members, including three children.

“My son is dead. He’s gone forever and his kids will never see him again and neither will I,” she said. “I need to be proud of what he has done to help out all of his family down here in the tents. I’m so proud of my son and I’ll hold onto him in my heart forever.”

Kelowna resident Bryn McNair, who visited the shelter over the last two weeks to help out those in need, said Bourdin would often go out of his way to help other people.

“He always had a huge smile and was always willing to help,” said McNair

“If any of us came in with food or water, he was the first to say ‘Hey, can I help you.’”

Kelowna residents at the vigil also dropped off Naloxone kits and toiletries to help get people experiencing homelessness at the shelter through the winter.

According to officials, paramedics responded to a call for an unconscious man at Recreation Avenue site in the north end of the city early in the morning on Dec. 16. He was transported to Kelowna General Hospital, where he later died.

RCMP Const. Solana Paré said the B.C. Coroners Service was notified and is now investigating Bourdin’s death.

In November, the city moved people experiencing homelessness on Leon Avenue to two different temporary overnight shelters in the north end of the city — a site at Recreation Avenue and another at the base of Knox Mountain Park.

According to Homeless Hub, approximately 286 people are experiencing homelessness in Kelowna.

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

 

Just Posted

Portable washrooms open, campground closed to visitors as district deals with COVID-19

District also working with businesses on ‘voluntary reductions in operations and shutdowns’

Significant snowfall forecast for Interior mountain passes

Allison Pass, the Okanagan Connector, Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass could see 15 to 25 cm of snow

Hope care homes, seniors residences close to visitors

Preventative measures ramped up as COVID-19 found in several B.C. long term care facilities

Hope’s emergency shelter braces for COVID-19

District’s homeless serving organization deals with food shortage scare, preparation at 20-bed shelter

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Most Read