Build it … or lose it

Ask residents if Parksville and the surrounding area has a problem with homelessness, and you’re likely to get an affirmative response in a unified voice.

Ask for a solution to the issue, though, and suddenly it’s all Tower of Babel.

The Parksville Qualicum Beach region has been presented with a unique opportunity to take a key step in addressing the greatest barrier faced by the homeless — namely, the lack of a home.

The province, through BC Housing, has committed $6.9 million in funding to construct 52 units of rental housing and an extreme weather shelter on Corfield Street. Just as importantly, it has also committed ongoing operational funding that will allow the Island Crisis Care Society to staff the facility around the clock.

That funding, and the various support services that go with it, can all go away in a heartbeat if the residents of the region reject it now.

Many people have spoken out against the development this week, both at Parksville’s council meeting on Monday and during an open house hosted by BC Housing and ICCS staff Tuesday. Some opponents seemed to express surprise at the “sudden” approval of the facility, even though the land was purchased for the express purpose nearly a year ago.

This didn’t happen overnight. The Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness and its associated members, including ICCS, the Society of Organized Services, Forward House and others, have been working for years toward a solution for the crisis.

During those years they have also been taking steps to assist at-risk and homeless individuals through a range of services, including finding housing and employment.

Those who live near the proposed site have a right to be concerned about the project and what it might mean to the neighbourhood.

But blanket assertions that it will result in an influx of criminally inclined transients are unfounded. We’ve already got our own homeless — ranging from those who need crisis stabilization to those who simply need a safe place to lay their heads and who are otherwise perfectly capable of working and contributing to our communities.

Parksville council has started the zoning amendment process for this development and will hold a public meeting before final approval can be granted.

Rejection of the proposed supportive housing project will not result in a reduction in property crime and people sleeping in the doorways of downtown businesses.

But it will leave a long-term solution out in the cold.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach society goes to bat for insect eaters

Two bat houses built to monitor population in Heritage Forest

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Vehicle knocks out Parksville power pole

Traffic single lane heading southbound

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Most Read