The steeple of St. Anne’s Church in Parksville, which had been offering ‘pray and stay’ vigils in lieu of a cold-weather shelter. (Cloe Logan photo)

The steeple of St. Anne’s Church in Parksville, which had been offering ‘pray and stay’ vigils in lieu of a cold-weather shelter. (Cloe Logan photo)

Parksville Qualicum Beach cold-weather shelter plan unveiled

Seven churches from the area will provide spaces

After months of waiting, the Parksville Qualicum Beach area has an eight-bed, cold-weather shelter solution.

Starting on Thursday, Dec. 19, seven churches in the area will host shelter spaces on rotating nights.

That will happen for the rest of December and the entirety of January and February. In March, the shelter services will be provided at the same location — the Mount Arrowsmith Salvation Army Church.

A new, non-profit society called the Oceanside Homelessness Ecumenical Advocacy Response Team Society (OHEART) will be responsible for operating the shelter.

Society of Organized Services is the contract holder with BC Housing, who will in turn pay OHEART to provide and operate the shelter.

Heidi Hartman, regional director for BC Housing for the Vancouver Island region, said it took until now for a solution to be found because of the amount of planning required.

“I think because it was creative and it took a lot of co-ordination as you can appreciate, with that many churches coming together,” she said.

“You know, usually what we see is it’s one church that can provide seven nights a week, but because of the programming and the different other great work that each of the churches done is they were only able to offer one night a week so it took some time to co-ordinate all of that work.”

READ MORE: Concern heightens over cold-weather shelter situation in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Hartman said they’re trying to make it as convenient as possible for people to use the shelters — people will be able to meet at a central location and then get transported to where the shelter will be that night.

“We want to make this as easy as possible to get people out of the cold, so there will be transportation,” she said. “There will be a central area where they will be picked up on a daily basis at 5 o’clock, intake will happen then. And they will be transported to the appropriate shelter, which would open 6 p.m. to 7:15 a.m.”

The journey to a cold-weather shelter started in May 2019, when the City of Parksville secured full control over the use of what is now Orca Place by purchasing it for $700,000 and repaying a $492,400 grant-in-aid to the Regional District of Nanaimo. With the purchase, the housing facility no longer required an eight-bed, cold-weather shelter, which was a requirement of the RDN.

Since then, BC Housing and local groups have been looking for alternative solutions.

Hartman said cold-weather shelters are based on partnerships and that each model is individual to the municipality, city or town.

“We have some really amazing partnerships with different cities and municipalities and different partners, whether it’s nonprofits or businesses coming forward with solutions,” she said. “But our intent is just to support communities that need these temporary shelter spaces.”

Hartman said having the shelter in the area is necessary and important — there’s a demand and a need for one in Parksville Qualicum Beach.

“We appreciate the dedicated group that really brought this opportunity forward,” she said. “Because while the 52 units of housing did meet the need, there continue to be individuals that are seen on the streets that need to come out of the weather and get a warm meal and a bed and a warm place to sleep.”

The community churches who will be sharing shelter duties are:

* Arbutus Grove Reformed Church

* Knox United Church

* Oceanside Community Church

* Catholic Church of The Ascension

* Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church

* Christian Fellowship Centre Church

* Anglican Church of St. Anne/St. Edmund

cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Donna Hales next to one of her paintings of Sooke. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Donna Hales still displaying her work at age 94

Current exhibit at the McMillan Arts Centre through April 1

(Philip Wolf photo)
WOLF: What’s in a name (2.0)? Parksville offers interesting list of dog monikers

List includes Rembrandt, Swayze, Zorro, Fabio, Fonzie and Yoda

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Thieves pilfer trailer, camera, tools, cigarettes and cleaning supplies

Parksville, Nanoose Bay feature prominently among 226 complaints to Oceanside RCMP

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

FILE – Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli, left, shoots and scores his team’s first goal against Kelowna Rockets goalie Jackson Whistle during second period action at the Memorial Cup final in Quebec City on Sunday, May 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
B.C. government approves plan in principle to allow WHL to resume in the province

League includes Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Nelson society raises $400K to save regional park from logging project

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

A public health order has extended the types of health care professionals who can give the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
‘It’s great that midwives are included’ in rollout of B.C.’s COVID vaccine plan, says college

The order will help the province staff the mass vaccination clinics planned for April

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian economy contracted 5.4 per cent in 2020, worst year on record

Drop was largely due to shutdowns in the spring as COVID began to spread

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale, owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

Most Read