Consultant will seek input about supportive housing in Courtenay

A consultant suggests an East Courtenay house owned by the City is suited to a 30-unit supportive housing complex for the homeless.

A social planning consultant suggests an East Courtenay house owned by the City is suited to a 30-unit supportive housing complex for the homeless, but not to a shelter.

In a Monday presentation to Courtenay council, John Jessup said the property at 810 Braidwood Rd. is too far from downtown to serve as a shelter or drop-in centre for men and women living on the street.

The City has retained Jessup to prepare a request for proposal for the project — which council has identified as its top priority.

“I’m anxious to get the ball rolling,” Coun. Starr Winchester said.

Council gave Jessup the green light to begin neighbourhood consultation, which he hopes to complete by the end of March. He intends to contact nearby commercial enterprises and retailers to ensure understanding of the proposal to house low-income people in apartments. Some tenants will have mental health issues and addictions, but Jessup notes a 24/7 presence of support workers.

“I’m not saying there won’t be problems,” he said.

Some clients will have low to moderate problems. A few will be “hard to house.”

Jessup said to expect turnover of staff and tenants in the first six to eight months of the project. Some tenants will stay as long as needed. Others, he expects, will eventually move on.

“You will see some turnover in two to three years,” Jessup said.

The City purchased the Braidwood property for $264,500 after selling a trio of lots at Cliffe Avenue for $355,000. In 2010, the regional district had purchased the latter for $470,000 for emergency shelter/supportive housing purposes.

Last year, the CVRD transferred ownership of the properties to the City, along with $100,000 from the Vancouver Island Health Authority, to develop the project elsewhere. There had been an outcry from businesses in the vicinity opposed to building a homeless shelter at Eighth and Cliffe across from City Hall.

Coun. Ronna-Rae Leonard agrees the Braidwood property is not an ideal shelter location, but says shelters are a necessary part of the housing continuum.

Next to establishing supportive housing for homeless men and women, Jessup feels a close second priority should be second-stage housing for women and children fleeing domestic violence, or homeless women experiencing violence on the street.

Council authorized Jessup to establish a working group consisting of himself and various officials to issue a request for proposal to non-profit housing providers on the Island.

Council approved a total of six recommendations from Jessup, who will negotiate with BC Housing about municipal contributions and committing BC Housing to a unit allocation to the project. Before negotiating, the City will undertake various surveys and an environmental assessment to determine the extent of liability. Jessup and city officials will explore how to forgive and recover development fees and charges.

In addition, council supports Jessup’s voluntary services to help the Comox Valley Transition Society secure a site for women fleeing violence.


Just Posted

Courtenay petition to decriminalize all drugs continues to collect signatures

A Courtenay couple is collecting signatures for their petition to decriminalize drugs in Canada

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Comox residents question redevelopment at emotionally-charged meeting

About 40 people filled the d’Esterre House in response to a community consultation meeting.

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Courtenay receives second application for cannabis shop

Just one resident spoke at a Tuesday public hearing in Courtenay council… Continue reading

Most Read