Zoning amendment proposed for Parksville property used by homeless campers

Proposal calls for land, next to city hall, to be changed to downtown residential commercial

A piece of land owned by the City of Parksville, notable for recently being occupied by homeless campers with their tents, will go to a public hearing for a proposed zoning bylaw amendment.

The property, on Jensen Ave West and the Alberni Highway, next to city hall, is currently zoned as single-family residential and is being proposed to be rezoned to downtown residential commercial.

Tents and other items have popped up on the grassy lot, prompting the City of Parksville to issue the Manna Homeless Society a cease and desist order in November saying they had to stop handing out food and medical services from the property, believing the service was responsible for the mess.

Manna had been providing regular Saturday morning meals for the city’s less-fortunate from the Jensen Avenue location for the past 13 years. Manna director and co-founder Robin Campbell told The NEWS in November that the location was ideal for reaching vulnerable individuals because it is next to a grassy lot frequently accommodated by homeless campers.

RELATED: Outreach group ordered to stop feeding homeless on City of Parksville property

The bylaw amendment has received two readings from Parksville city council and was advanced to a public hearing on March 4.

A downtown residential commercial zone is intended to provide land for apartments, multi-family residential development, pedestrian-oriented shops and offices, or a combination thereof.

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