NEWS file photo - Parksville city council requests demographics of Orca Place residents, moves closer to a feasibility study for the proposed pool and multiplex and approves major landscaping at Parksville Museum.

Parksville council calls for report about demographics at Orca Place

Details would help assess impact of supportive housing

At the Nov. 18 Parksville city council meeting, Coun. Adam Fras put forward, and Coun. Al Grier seconded a motion to request a report from B.C. Housing and the Island Crisis Care Society about the demographics of people living at Orca Place.

The request asks for the report to use the same metrics as the city of Parksville’s 2018 homeless count.

This would include percentage of age groups, genders, physical disabilities, medical issues, mental health issues and drug addictions.

The report would also request to know the number of those who were previously sheltered, and those who were without shelter. Fras says this is so that council can assess the impact supportive housing has made to the homeless count.

Fras says that no private information will be disclosed as a result of the report.

“We are involved with this facility, and I think we should be asking questions and and measuring the impacts along the way,” said Fras.

“We have to be able to know if what’s going on is working, rather than just hoping the problem will be resolved because a non-profit is given funds and a space to operate.”

The motion passed 5-1 with only Mayor Ed Mayne opposing.

Coun. Teresa Patterson was absent from the meeting.

Feasibility study for pool and multiplex draws near

Council carried a motion unanimously for city staff to negotiate with HDR Architecture Associates Inc. in order to conduct a feasibility study for the city’s proposed pool and multiplex facility.

Staff will attempt to negotiate a contract with the company for $75,000 before taxes. If successful, the contract would be awarded to HDR.

Part of the motion also included an additional $10,000 in contingency to the 2020 budget to allow for public input.

HDR was chosen after council put forth a request for proposal that was advertised from Sept. 17 to Oct. 18.

Seven eligible proposals were received, and staff ranked them according to a variety of criteria.

There was discussion about whether to leave out the proposed multiplex and track from the feasibility study in order to bring the cost down.

Council ultimately decided based discussion among themselves and CAO Keeva Kehler, that the best step would be to figure out what the community needs are, see what’s possible within the city’s budget and decide which aspects to keep once those factors are known.

READ MORE: Handmade for Hope proposal at Orca Place denied by council

Courtyard landscaping approved at museum

Council approved a request by the Parksville & District Historical Society to conduct major landscaping in the courtyard of the Parksville Museum.

The request was formally made by vice-president of the society Susan Wismer in a letter to the mayor dated Nov. 12, 2019.

Wismer says the work is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2020, and will “transform the courtyard into a community gathering place, with space for events, performances, picnics and play.”

“We are sure council will agree that our plans for the courtyard will significantly enhance the museum grounds, and create a wonderful community space for the residents of Parksville,” read the letter.

The request for approval to proceed was moved by Coun. Al Grier and seconded by Coun. Marilyn Wilson.

The motion passed unanimously.

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