EDITORIAL: Into the great unknown

There are legitimate reasons for opposition to any civic development project, and that can certainly be held true for a housing development that would serve a range of at-risk or vulnerable residents.

In March, the B.C. Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing sent Minister Selina Robinson to Parksville to announce approval of funding for a 52-unit, modular supportive housing project at 222 Corfield St. in Parksville. The announcement was met with a cheer from local homeless advocates who had worked for nearly a decade to secure a housing-first facility to serve their clients.

But like an echo rebounding off a far hillside, a rumble of discontent rolled into the community the following day in the form of residents who either opposed the location for the housing, opposed the project outright, or who said they felt blindsided by a lack of information and warning from the city or from BC Housing’s local contractor, Island Crisis Care Society.

Well, there has been plenty of information floating around the community since then, but it is coming from multiple sources and, in all likelihood creating more confusion.

It’s at least worth checking with ICCS, which will manage the BC Housing-funded facility, to see what its answers are.

You may not like those answers. You may disagree with them. You may not believe it is possible to accomplish what ICCS believes it can accomplish.

But we’re reaching a point at which it’s no longer fair to say there is no information.

Perhaps the bigger problem with a first-of-its-kind project like this is the unknowns that come with it.

There still remains an opportunity for those who believe they will be impacted by the housing project on Corfield to have their voices heard.

Parksville council will be deliberating a zoning amendment bylaw to facilitate the multi-unit structure. Part of that process is a mandated public hearing, which typically will follow first reading of the draft bylaw and which will be advertised in advance.

As the bylaw has not yet come before council, no meeting date has been set.

You can count on The News sharing that information when it becomes available. For links to all our coverage on this story, see the online version of today’s Page A5 Spotlight at www.pqbnews.com.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News

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