Qualicum Beach council wants to look at the possibility of establishing a temporary dry recovery housing project on an Agricultural Land Reserve property located behind the town fire hall.
Council had already approved the location of the proposed housing project on the western half of 987 Jones St., which will also be the site of the town’s future operations yard.
But at the regular council meeting on May 27, Coun. Teunis Westbroek made a motion to direct staff to explore the ALR property behind the fire hall to be considered as the site for the nine-month temporary dry housing project. It was unanimously supported by council.
Coun. Scott Harrison did note it will be a difficult process to get the Agricultural Land Commission’s approval to allow the use of ALR land for the project, should the town choose to pursue that avenue.
Coun. Robert Filmer endorsed Westbroek’s motion. He indicated he has had discussions with the MLA for Parksville-Qualicum, Adam Walker, and believes it can be done.
“He is working hard and diligently in the background not only with different ministries but also the ALC to try and clear the way for us should we make this request and proposal,” said Filmer. “He’s got my full trust.”
The project currently has a grant application to the Strengthening Communities’ Services Program for $1.25 million. It aims to establish a dry recovery community that will provide transitional housing to help people coming out of homelessness and moving into a permanent home.
The Qualicum Nature Preservation Society, which has a petition calling for the preservation of the community park and trails that has 12,000 signatures, welcomes council’s decision. They regard it as a small victory.
“The credit here really goes to both the community of Qualicum Beach for using their voices, as well as the council for being receptive and listening,” said QNPS president Ezra Morse. “We are just glad to have been part of the process.”