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City of Parksville gives BC Housing 180 days to find alternative to VIP Motel option

Since November 2021, motel has operated as a temporary supportive housing facility
The VIP Motel in Parksville. (PQB News file photo)

The City of Parksville has issued a compliance agreement for BC Housing to bring the VIP Motel property (414 Island Highway West) into zoning compliance, according to a news release by the city.

The compliance agreement provides BC Housing with 180 days to find suitable alternative housing options for the residents. It includes a commitment from BC Housing to provide ongoing social supports to individuals during the transition and continue its engagement with the neighbourhood on management of the facility. The zoning infraction is now being handled through the city’s compliance and enforcement division.

“Parksville council is confident this agreement will address the many concerns expressed by residents and businesses,” the release read. “And provide a reasonable time frame to find safe alternative accommodation for residents now living at this location.”

Since November 2021, the VIP Motel has operated as a temporary supportive housing facility under a partnership between Oceanside Homelessness Ecumenical Advocacy Response Team Society (OHEARTS) and BC Housing.

The lease between BC Housing and the VIP Motel will expire on March 31, 2023.

The city said this site was always intended as a temporary solution and BC Housing remains committed to finding permanent, safe and secure housing for vulnerable people in the community.

READ MORE: Parksville council declines temporary use permit for supportive housing at VIP Motel

Earlier this year, the city received a temporary use permit application from BC Housing on behalf of the owner of the VIP Motel. The property is currently zoned Tourist Commercial CS-2 (allowing uses such as hotel/motel, restaurant and resort condominiums) and is designated for commercial tourism uses in Parksville’s Official Community Plan (OCP). Because CS-2 zoning does not include a supportive housing facility as a permitted use, a valid temporary use permit or a rezoning is required to comply with the zoning regulations.

“The VIP Motel temporary housing is a complex situation,” said Mayor Ed Mayne. “Council does not wish to see residents negatively impacted; however, we recognized the location is not supportable and does not meet the vision outlined in the OCP or the current zoning. This compliance agreement will provide BC Housing with time to provide safe alternative accommodations for residents now living at the motel.”

A public meeting was held on Sept. 7, prior to the regular council meeting, at which time council listened to concerns about the impact on tourism, surrounding businesses, and heard from residents both opposed and in favour of the facility operating in its present location. Council voted to deny BC Housing’s application for a temporary use permit during the Sept. 7 meeting.

— NEWS Staff, submitted

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