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

Comox Valley golfers prepare for another 55+ Games

Competition, camaraderie name of the game

Comox Valley firefighters assist with wildfire effort

Four Courtenay firefighters are in Fort St. James helping with the fight… Continue reading

Woman rescued from Stotan Falls calling for safety measures

3L Developments did not comment on immediate plans to add safety precautions

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

More than 22,000 blood donors needed

Canadian Blood Services is urging Canadians to help meet patients’ needs this… Continue reading

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

UPDATED: Vancouver Island community under evacuation alert due to wildfire

BC Wildfire Service says steep terrain near Zeballos poses challenge as “out of control” wildfire approaches homes

Most Read