Penticton council meets with province to discuss supportive housing complaints | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton council meets with province to discuss supportive housing complaints

FILE PHOTO - Penticton city council met with provincial representatives to discuss supportive housing complaints Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. Council had met earlier in the day in a special meeting where it agreed to a support a notice of motion for a provincial audit of supportive housing projects such as Compass House on Main Street, pictured in this July, 7, 2020 file photo.
January 27, 2021 - 2:10 PM

Penticton city council presented a unified voice to the provincial government ministers at a meeting held to discuss supportive housing yesterday.

Public opposition to a recently proposed supportive housing project at 3240 Skaha Lake Rd. in Penticton was a main topic of discussion at the meeting, according to a City of Penticton media release.

City councillors, Penticton MLA Dan Ashton, B.C. Housing representatives and Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing Honourable David Eby and his deputy minister along their staff were present at the meeting.

Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki requested the meeting earlier in January after the City received feedback from residents expressing growing concerns about the project.

Council members also discussed the need for a more comprehensive and community-wide engagement process before proceeding with the project. They also asked for a pause in the project until an assessment of existing supportive housing is completed.

"We remain a long way from concluding discussions on this proposed project, but overall I was very pleased with the reception council received from minister Eby who, at the conclusion of our meeting, indicated he would like to meet with council again next week to further discuss our community’s concerns and provide additional information about the project,” Mayor Vassilaki said in the release.

Additional community engagement opportunities will be organized in the future. The mayor urged interested residents to sign up for the events when the dates become available.

The meeting came on the heels of a notice of motion put forward by Mayor Vassilaki at a special meeting of council yesterday, Jan. 26, asking for an independent audit of supportive housing projects in Penticton.

Councillors gave unanimous preliminary support to the motion, stated by the mayor, "to determine if sufficient actions have been taken to support those in need of housing and what the impact of these housing projects have been to the community.”

The mayor was referring to supportive housing projects Burdock House on Winnipeg Street, Compass House on Main Street and Fairhaven on Skaha Lake Road.

Councillor Campbell Watt asked for an amendment requesting B.C. Housing not apply for a development permit for its new project until the audit had been completed and distributed.

Councillor Judy Sentes asked if it was possible to get a partisan report from the province.

“I certainly support this notice of motion. I think it’s required. I understand the authority B.C. Housing has, but it’s not absolute. I think they are taking advantage of our community,” Sentes said. “I’m worried about the tentacles of the provincial government. Do you think we can actually get an independent audit?”

The mayor said he felt with a third party involved it should be safe.

“I keep my fingers crossed,” Vassilaki said.

The mayor also took the occasion of yesterday’s meeting with provincial officials to inform the minister of council’s notice of motion.


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