New plan required

A plan to open a homeless shelter and transitional housing on Hirst Street in Parksville has hit some bumpy terrain.

A plan to open a homeless shelter and transitional housing on Hirst Street in Parksville has hit some bumpy terrain and is back to the drawing board, says a member of the local homelessness task force.

In August, community organizations appeared before city council to present their plan to use the former B.C. Ambulance station next to the SOS for 10 shelter beds, four or five transitional housing units and other services. The Parksville and District Association for Community Living (PDACL) purchased the building and were planning to lease part of it to groups who wanted to provide beds and services for the homeless of the region.

There was a meeting Friday when these groups learned PDACL may not make available the space first envisioned.

“The space we have to work with has diminished,” said Violet Hayes, the executive director of Island Crisis Care and a member of the local homelessness task force. “We now have to look at the feasibility of it. We’re still hopeful but we have to be realistic as well.”

Hayes said it’s possible the 10 shelter beds could still fit in the smaller space now available, but she said many funding avenues for facilities like this require some form of transitional housing.

She said the task force was surprised and disappointed by the news it received from PDACL on Friday and have asked an architect and development consultant to have a second look at the facility to see what can be done in the smaller space.

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