Penticton council votes to close controversial homeless shelter | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton council votes to close controversial homeless shelter

FILE PHOTO - Penticton city council voted in favour of moving forward with plans to close an emergency winter homeless shelter in spite of objections from the province.
April 20, 2021 - 2:15 PM

Penticton city council continued its dispute with the B.C. housing ministry over its desire to close the winter homeless shelter today, voting today to shutter the facility.

The City and B.C. Housing have been at odds over the emergency winter shelter, which the province wants to keep open for another year. City council voted in early March not to extend a temporary use permit to operate the shelter located at 352 Winnipeg St. However, since that time the province used its power to override council’s decision and have kept the shelter open through April.

Mayor and council were unanimous today, April 20, in their vote to close the shelter.

“I’m not sure what else there is to say about this," councillor Katie Robinson said. "It was a temporary shelter, they knew in advance and now it’s closing.”

City staff presented council with an analysis of a recent survey, which found a majority of residents favoured council’s approach to the issue.

The survey results seemed emboldened council to vote in favour of a staff recommendation that included the following actions:

  • Council to continue negotiations with the province and shelter operator to close operations and find new accommodations for the residents.
  • City bylaw services will continue working to reduce nuisance calls to the facility.
  • City to draft a letter to the province requesting the premier’s intervention in the dispute.
  • City to begin injunctive (legal) actions to a maximum cost of $300,000.

“There’s nothing more that needs to be said at this point," councillor Judy Sentes said. "I think we’ve acted appropriately, responsibly for the entire community and until the province will meet us halfway, it is what it is.” 

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