Penticton legal action against province could have far reaching impacts | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton legal action against province could have far reaching impacts

Victory Church homeless shelter in Penticton.
July 07, 2021 - 4:30 PM

The City of Penticton’s war with the province over the continued operation of the Victory Church homeless shelter officially reached the courts today.

The outcome of the lawsuit could impact every community in the province that gets into a dispute with the province over the use of land.

The petition, filed in the Supreme Court of B.C. today, July 7, names B.C. Housing, the Attorney General of B.C., Provincial Rental Housing Corporation, Pentictonia Holdings Ltd. and Penticton and District Society for Community Living.

On the surface, it’s a simple dispute about whether the temporary shelter opened at the former church last winter could continue to operate after it’s temporary use permit expired on March 31.

The city refused to renew the permit. The province refused to close the shelter and used “paramountcy” to say it had the right to overrule the city.

READ MORE: B.C. Housing review of supportive housing in Penticton won't stop city legal action

The core of the city’s argument is that the law that allows the province to override a city on land use matters only applies to land that the province owns or uses.

“The Land is privately owned (by Pentictonia Holdings) and the shelter is privately operated (by Penticton and District Society for Community Living),” the court filing states.

Penticton and District Society for Community Living is paid by B.C. Housing to run the shelter. That arrangement does not translate into B.C. Housing using the land, the city’s filing argues.

A news release from the City of Penticton says it has approved spending up to $300,000 on legal fees for this court challenge.

The province has yet to respond to the petition.


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