Parksville Coun. Leanne Salter says moving forward and dealing with the divisiveness in the community is the next step in dealing with the planned supportive housing project for 222 Corfield St. South.
At last Wednesday’s (July 4) Parksville city council meeting, Salter said she has “been kept in the dark” with the details on the supportive housing project and the rezoning, adding that she has only been learning information quite recently.
During that meeting, Parksville city council approved third reading and rezoning of 222 Corfield St. South in a 5-2 vote with councillors Salter and Teresa Patterson voting against the bylaw rezoning.
Salter said she was unable to get answers to some of her questions from the proponents.
The project, part of BC Housing’s Rapid Response to Housing program, will be managed by Island Crisis Care Society.
One of those questions, Salter said, was whether or not the facility will be a “dry” or “wet” house. She said it’s the fact that the proponents are saying it’s not a wet house, but it’s also not a dry house.
“It’s possibly a label that they’re using that indicates neither wet nor dry. I don’t know what that is and neither does the community.”
In an information sheet from BC Housing, under drug and alcohol use, it states, “Residents of supportive housing live independently and will make their own choices regarding life style and will have direct access to the support services they need.”
Salter said what’s important is understanding exactly what it is she’s making a decision on.
“I didn’t know the details well enough to be able to make a decision, a well-considered decision, at least.”
Mayor Marc Lefebvre said council and staff have had “all kinds of briefings from people” regarding the rezoning and planned supportive housing project for 222 Corfield St. South.
Parksville communications manager Deb Tardiff said there was no difference in the information Salter had access to versus other councillors.
“She gets the same information as every other councillor,” Tardiff said.
The project still needs to go through the development and building permit applications, but going forward, Salter said she hopes to see more details on the project.
“I expect there to be (more detailed information). I don’t even think I need to push. I think it will be forthcoming. I expect it to be forthcoming,” Salter said.
She said now the focus should be on “(mending) the fences.”
“We need to make a concerted effort to change the dialogue, and we really need to stop the language such as ‘misinformation’ and ‘fear mongering,’” Salter said.
“I don’t think that dialogue helps anymore. I think we need to replace that with respect and dignity for people — anyone — who has differing perspectives.”