Grand Forks residents have until noon Friday, Oct. 30 to register their opinions with city council about BC Housing’s plan to fund a homeless shelter in a city neighbourhood this winter.
City hall advertised it is looking for public feedback, in the Oct. 21 edition of the Gazette.
BC Housing applied for a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) that would allow it to fund a winter shelter at a portion of the Old Hardy View Lodge, shortly before council last met Monday, Oct. 19. The centre would offer beds and living amenities for between 10 and 15 people experiencing homelessness during over the winter months.
The site would be operated by Boundary Family Service (BFS) staff, around the clock, if council approves the TUP, according to a city staff report.
BFS hopes to open the facility by Dec. 1, according to Executive Director Darren Pratt. Clients would not be allowed on-site visitors and would have to abide by the “clear check-in and curfew times.” Staff would also hold clients to BFS policy, including the “good neighbour agreement,” which Pratt said is a condition for staying at the facility.
Pratt was on a task force convened by Mayor Brian Taylor to recommend potential sites for a winter shelter starting in late August, Taylor said. The task force also included councillor Christine Thompson and the Circle of Indigenous Nations Society’s Tonya Robitaille. The group suggested the lodge and Highway 3’s Grand Victorian Motel as possible locations.
Thompson said North Ruckle Homes, the Grand Forks Curling Club, Boundary Hospital’s old nurses’ residence, James Donaldson Park and vacant commercial spaces downtown would not have met BC Housing’s needs. The committe also recommended against a disused mental-health building on 3rd Street, and disqualified vacant land owned by the city, for the same reason.
The lodge was the most viable option after the motel was privately sold earlier this fall, she said.
BC Housing has asked Grand Forks’ Hydraclean Disaster Restoration Services for a cost-estimate on renovations needed to safely house people at the disused lodge, according to Regional Manager Tom Plotnikoff.
City staff will summarize residents’ feedback to council in a report before council votes on the TUP at a special meeting at chambers 10 a.m. Tuesday Nov. 3.