Penticton council seeks UBCM support over homeless shelter dispute with BC Housing | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton council seeks UBCM support over homeless shelter dispute with BC Housing

A temporary emergency shelter at 352 Winnipeg St. in Penticton is pictured in this undated file photo.
April 13, 2021 - 10:18 AM

Penticton is looking for allies in its battle with the provincial housing ministry over a homeless shelter in the city.

The City of Penticton announced today, April 13, in a media release it has sent a letter to Union of B.C. Municipalities president Brian Frenkel with a request for a letter of support for its position regarding the winter emergency shelter.

Penticton council has been embroiled in a dispute with B.C. Housing over March 31 scheduled closure of the shelter. Council wanted the shelter closed and the province wanted it to remain open so homeless people wouldn't end up on the street.

READ MORE: Penticton's emergency shelter surrounded by a fearful senior population

The province overrode council’s position to close the shelter in late March using paramountcy, its power as a higher level of government.

If UBCM agrees council's request, the letter of support would be directed to B.C. Premier John Horgan and denounce the use of paramountcy. The City argues the use of paramountcy is a violation of council decisions and zoning laws.

"My letter to Mr. Frenkel made it very clear that the issue at hand is a matter of land use and cooperative planning between two levels of government,” Mayor John Vassilaki said in the release.

Vassilaki said a previous relationship of bilateral cooperation has been replaced by a unilateral hammer that puts residents at risk of having the provincial government plan the community.

“As such, council has reached out to Mr. Frenkel and the UBCM membership at large to seek their support in reversing the province’s conduct towards Penticton, or any other community they disagree with,” Vassilaki said.

Get caught up on Penticton homelessness issue here.

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