Parksville residents will have a chance to voice their opinions about the VIP Motel (414 Island Highway West) being used as a temporary supportive housing facility.
Council voted in favour of Coun. Marilyn Wilson’s motion to direct city staff to issue notice about the public meeting, which will allow interested parties to speak prior to council’s decision on BC Housing’s proposal.
Mayor and council have expressed frustration with a reported lack of compliance with city bylaws.
The building has been operated through a partnership by the Oceanside Homelessness Ecumenical Advocacy Response Team Society (OHEARTS), under the BC Housing supportive housing model, since October 2021, without the required temporary use permit from the city.
Staff presented a follow-up report to council’s July 4 regular meeting, regarding the temporary use permit, which included comments from Oceanside RCMP, Parksville Volunteer Fire Department (PVFD) and city bylaw.
Oceanside RCMP indicated it was in support of the initiative and was satisfied with the facility’s minimum of two staff on site through the day and security for eight hours overnight.
The PVFD said the building’s last fire safety inspection, in July 2021, was satisfactory.
The department recommended a fire safety plan for occupancy be submitted to the department for review and acceptance. PVFD also suggested if the building is used for this purpose, it should have a fire sprinkler system and associated fire alarm system.
Comments submitted by Parksville bylaws said the department has not to date received complaints since the submission of the temporary use permit application.
It also mentioned a noticed drop in the number of unhoused persons loitering in the downtown and surrounding areas.
No decision has been made on the timing of the public meeting.