CVRD approves homelessness support bylaw

Term elections also held; Jolliffe acclaimed as chair

  • Dec. 16, 2015 5:00 p.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

It’s not often a bylaw adoption is greeted with a round of applause, but that’s what happened at Tuesday’s inaugural meeting of the 2015-2016 term when Comox Valley Regional District directors unanimously approved a bylaw to enable the establishment of a homelessness support service.

The service will provide funds to one or more non-government organizations (NGOs) to assist homeless individuals, based on a five-year plan.

“We listened to the people,” said Cumberland director Gwyn Sproule, referring to last month’s referendum that passed by a slim majority.

A total of 1,617 Valley residents voted in favour of the service while 1,433 were opposed. Sproule notes a “reasonable turnout” in Cumberland, where 257 voters were in favour and just 76 against the tax.

Some of the directors were puzzled by the low turnout at the Nov. 28 referendum. Just 3,050 of an estimated 36,803 eligible voters (eight per cent) turned out to polling stations throughout the Valley.

“Why people didn’t get out and vote I don’t know,” said Area B director Rod Nichol, noting the event was well publicized.

“I’m troubled by the low turnout, but I think we have to move forward,” Courtenay director Larry Jangula said. “It will be a challenge. The public will be watching closely.”

Comox director Barbara Price suggests the uncertainty as to how tax dollars will be spent explains the No votes. But she said the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness — which has compiled a plan to develop a support service, in conjunction with non-profits — will be restricted in its actions without the funding.

Courtenay director Erik Eriksson noted the “significant support at (civic) election time” when a non-binding question showed that 71 per cent of voters support at least a $5 annual property tax.

“We can take heart that it’s meeting with the support of the people in the Valley,” Eriksson said.

• Directors re-elected Area A representative Bruce Jolliffe to a second term as board chair. There were no other nominees.

Comox director Ken Grant was elected vice-chair, a position previously held by Courtenay director Manno Theos. Like last year, the vice-chair position was decided by way of a tiebreaker vote.

Jolliffe and Grant will serve in these positions for the next year.

“I think we’ve built a great team,” Jolliffe said. “I will continue to ensure we do our best.”

 

Just Posted

Last Simms Park concert of the season to double as a food bank fundraiser

Bring a donation for the food bank to the My Generation concert, Sunday, Aug. 25

City of Courtenay adds pickleball courts Martin Park lacrosse box

Lacrosse, pickleball, and recreational ball hockey players in the Comox Valley can… Continue reading

Stage 3 water restrictions in the Comox Valley beginning September 3

Restrictions in effect until Sept. 27 for BC Hydro scheduled maintenance

Fanny Bay Challenge asks visitors to support businesses during highway closure

Community rallies as part of Highway 19A closes for six weeks due to culvert project

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Community organizes drop-in cricket game

Alan Dafoe and a few other caring members of the community arranged… Continue reading

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

Opinions vary about single-use plastics

Local governments in the Comox Valley are enacting bylaws to regulate single-use… Continue reading

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Most Read