OPINION: Cold-weather shelter solution needs to be found for Parksville Qualicum Beach

OPINION: Cold-weather shelter solution needs to be found for Parksville Qualicum Beach

Will our community leaders step up this time?

We can’t have a repeat of last winter.

Though September is barely upon us and the temperatures remain balmy and pleasant, the cold is just around the corner.

And Parksville Qualicum Beach still has no dedicated cold-weather shelter.

Rev. Christine Muise continues to hope a solution will be found.

As she points out in our story this week the issue has not gone away.

“I know there’s a lot of struggle with folks that have nowhere to stay, and the reality is they really have nowhere to stay and nowhere to go and nowhere to even go to the bathroom still,” she said.

That’s unacceptable. And we need our leaders to step up, quit passing the buck and leaving Muise and her group to pick up the pieces.

Muise is a founding member of OHEART, a group of nine Parksville Qualicum Beach area churches that worked with BC Housing to originally find a shelter solution. They opened St. Anne’s church as a shelter in December and had to close its doors in March due to COVID-19 concerns.

But last winter’s saga was something none of our political leaders should be proud of.

We actually had a story that started like this: ‘A group of homeless people in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area are set to begin camping in a graveyard.’

Eighteen people affected by homelessness were to camp at night at the graveyard between St. Anne’s and St. Edmund’s church in Parksville — not far from where many of them slept for months.

That didn’t last long after an outcry (if only there was as much reaction to people having to actually sleep out in the cold), but was still not a good look for our communities.

“We continue to operate the COVID response and that’s been extended until the end of September,” she said. “And OHEART is actively looking at possible capacity for a shelter for this coming cold-weather season, so we’re actively engaged in seeking and finding. So, we’re working on it.”

Other temporary solutions have been tried –people were put up in hotels, provided by BC Housing, but Muise said at the time that isn’t an option that works for everyone — many need a staffed shelter, like they had before. Muise remains hopeful a shelter solution will be found in time for winter.

“I’ll always be optimistic and my hope is that there’s a will on everyone involved to really just try and find that place and space so that we can have something in place as it gets colder out,” she said.

Will our community leaders step up this time?

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

HomelessParksvillequalicum beachWeather

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Donna Hales next to one of her paintings of Sooke. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Donna Hales still displaying her work at age 94

Current exhibit at the McMillan Arts Centre through April 1

(Philip Wolf photo)
WOLF: What’s in a name (2.0)? Parksville offers interesting list of dog monikers

List includes Rembrandt, Swayze, Zorro, Fabio, Fonzie and Yoda

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Thieves pilfer trailer, camera, tools, cigarettes and cleaning supplies

Parksville, Nanoose Bay feature prominently among 226 complaints to Oceanside RCMP

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Tofino Resort and Marina has temporarily shut down after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19. (Nora O’Malley photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at Tofino Resort and Marina

Resort apologizes to Hesquiaht First Nation for Valentine’s Day boating incident.

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared over at Eden Gardens. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Nanaimo’s Eden Gardens

One staff member and one resident tested positive for the virus over past two weeks

Courtenay Elementary is the latest school on a growing list that has COVID-19 exposures. Google Maps photo
Courtenay Elementary latest Comox Valley school on growing list of COVID-19 exposures

Exposure dates at the school on McPhee Avenue are Feb. 22, 23 and 24

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Most Read