The potential relocation of Quesnel’s homeless shelter from downtown to Elliott Street in West Quesnel is back on track, although it’s still not without some concerns.
Council gave first reading to a new bylaw at last night’s meeting.
Part of that process was going over the proposed operating model which includes 28 independent supportive housing units, 8 emergency shelter beds, a supportive recovery program for mental health and addictions, a homelessness prevention program and something called “extreme weather response.”
That will provide overnight accommodation, nutrition and hygiene in the event of extreme winter weather between November and March.
Councillor Shushil Thapar is concerned that a lot of the same problems at the current downtown location will simply move across the bridge…
“That’s what we have issue with old facility where people can just drop in, so basically they are saying they have people to drop in, eight beds, and then they have overflow area, so basically same facility.”
Other concerns that were raised included the fact that residents would be permitted to do drugs in the independent units.
“If that’s a publicly funded facility, why not just say this is a zero tolerance drugs, that’s how i see it to gain the confidence of the public”
Another request of Council that was required before this process could start again was that all of the public questions from the original public hearing back in September were answered.
One of those was how many police visits there were to the current downtown facility.
The report released last night indicates that there have been more than 200 so far this year and 240 last year.
A new public hearing date has been set for December 13th at 7 o’clock at the Seniors’ Centre.
Prior to that a new public information session will be hosted by BC Housing between 5 and 7.