Development of the BC Housing recovery-focused supportive housing development on Skaha Lake Road is going forward.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Penticton city council voted to sign a letter setting in writing commitments from BC Housing and to have staff issue the development permit for the project at 3240 Skaha Lake Road.
The vote was split 4-3, with Coun. James Miller, Campbell Watt and Mayor John Vassilaki opposed. The opposition was largely around the language used in the letter.
“I’m going to give this agreement a chance to work,” said Coun. Judy Sentes prior to the vote. “We have people dying on our streets daily. I think this will begin the resolution, it’s not perfect, to making a difference.”
That B.C. Housing changed their initial proposal from a wet facility to a dry and recovery-based housing project made the difference for the councillors who voted in favour.
“This is the missing link we haven’t had before, between homelessness and a new path, and I’m really encouraged by it being recovery-based,” said Coun. Katie Robinson. “This is what we’ve been asking for all the way along. That’s what we’ve been missing.”
The letter includes commitments from BC Housing that the facility, regardless of who operates it, will ensure that it is staffed 24-7, that the housing will be for those who are committed to recovery with a focus on Indigenous individuals and that programs and supports will be provided to the residents including counselling.
The project at 3240 Skaha Lake Road will see a four-storey building with 54 units of housing that will be operated by the ASK Wellness Society and the Ooknakane Frienship Centre, on behalf of BC Housing.
Originally BC Housing wanted to have people moved in by the start of 2022. A new competition date has not been announced.
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