The Connect Warming Centre is located at 685 Cliffe Ave. in Courtenay. File photo

The Connect Warming Centre is located at 685 Cliffe Ave. in Courtenay. File photo

Warming centre to offer overnight shelter in Courtenay

Courtenay council has approved a one-year lease agreement with four one-year renewal options to enable the Comox Valley Transition Society to consistently operate the Connect Warming Centre at 685 Cliffe Ave., and to run an overnight shelter for those experiencing homelessness. The Extreme Weather Response (EWR) shelter will be exempted from the building code as it’s deemed an emergency circumstance.

“We take this on with some risk,” Coun. Doug Hillian said at the Monday, Oct. 18 meeting.

Hillian noted that council does not have the support of businesses or citizens if present challenges continue to be an issue in the downtown core. He also said there’s risk of being stuck with providing the service, which is not a primary municipal responsibility. He therefore encourages relentless advocating for a permanent response, which includes moving the Pidcock shelter out of a residential neighbourhood, and developing a permanent, purpose-built shelter with sufficient space and services.

READ: Courtenay council resolves to provide emergency shelter for displaced individuals

The Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness, through the CVTS, and with funding from BC Housing, operated an EWR shelter at 685 Cliffe from Feb. 12- June 31, 2021. Anticipating the termination of the EWR, the coalition requested council to consider permitting the continuation of an overnight shelter due to the ongoing pandemic.

Police stats

Comox Valley RCMP Staff Sgt. Troy Beauregard delivered a Quarter 2 report from July 1 to Sept. 30. Compared to the previous quarter, calls for service increased 5.5 per cent in Courtenay, traffic files went up three per cent, and there was one more break and enter file. There was a 32 per cent decrease in theft from vehicles relative to last quarter, but there were 26 per cent more assault files. Beauregard said the latter might correlate to the lessening of COVID restrictions and the number of outside parties in summer. There were also five more sex offence files in Courtenay but 14 fewer domestic files compared to the previous quarter.

Call for climate action

Council agreed to sign onto a call for climate action by the province, as requested by the Comox Valley chapter of the Council of Canadians. The letter calls on government to confront the climate emergency with bold action to mitigate the type of heatwaves, drought conditions and forest fires recently experienced in B.C.

“We feel that the provincial government’s Clean BC climate action plan is not strong enough to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and will not keep British Columbians safe from the impacts of climate change,” the letter states.

More than 90 environmental and climate groups have signed the letter — which Coun. Will Cole-Hamilton said aligns with Courtenay’s Official Community Plan.

Public hearing waived

Council approved second reading and waived a public hearing for a secondary suite application at 2099 Hawk Dr. Only one negative comment was submitted.

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