This empty lot at 3240 Skaha Lake Road is where BC Housing plans to build a four storey supportive housing project for the homeless and those at risk of being homeless. (Jesse Day - Western News)

This empty lot at 3240 Skaha Lake Road is where BC Housing plans to build a four storey supportive housing project for the homeless and those at risk of being homeless. (Jesse Day - Western News)

Penticton council voice supportive housing concerns to BC Housing minister

The two parties plan to meet again next week

Penticton city councillors are looking ahead to further discussions with BC Housing Minister David Eby regarding a proposed supportive housing building for people experiencing homelessness on Skaha Lake Road.

The two sides met to discuss the controversial development for the first time Tuesday (Jan. 26) afternoon.

The meeting was requested by the Attorney General’s Office in response to Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki’s letter on the feedback city council was receiving from local residents and businesses about the proposed project and its location.

READ MORE: Penticton mayor and MLA concerned about new homeless housing

Public opposition to the housing project was the main focus of discussions during the private meeting which included Penticton city council, Penticton’s MLA Dan Ashton, BC Housing CEO and staff, the Attorney General and Minister responsible for housing, along with his deputy minister and staff.

Before the meeting took place, the Penticton city council unanimously approved a notice of motion introduced by the mayor seeking a provincially-funded, transparent and third-party evaluation of the existing supportive housing in Penticton.

Those projects include Compass Court on Main Street, Burdock House on Winnipeg Street, and Fairhaven on Skaha Lake Road.

Council used the meeting with the minister of housing to inform him of this notice of motion.

READ MORE: City of Penticton seeks audit of BC Housing supportive housing units

During the meeting, members of council reiterated the concerns about the project and restated the need for a more comprehensive and community-wide engagement process before proceeding with any plans.

Council also requested a pause on any further developments with the housing project until an assessment of the existing supportive housing projects in Penticton is completed and made publicly available.

Referring to data provided by BC Housing which shows that homes for seniors and lower-income working families are the most urgent form of housing needed in Penticton, council also requested that BC Housing proceeds with a solution that serves the needs of these residents — if they continue with the project at 3240 Skaha Road.

“We remain a long way from concluding discussions on this proposed project, but overall I was very pleased with the reception Council received from Minister Eby who, at the conclusion of our meeting, indicated he would like to meet with Council again next week to further discuss our community’s concerns and provide additional information about the project,” said Vassilaki in a release. “Council was also told that additional community engagement opportunities will be organized, so I encourage all residents to sign up for these events as soon as the dates are made available.”

When asked to comment on the meeting, BC Housing provided the following statement to the Western News:

”BC Housing routinely receives questions from partners about the wide variety of types of housing they operate. Yesterday Minister Eby, BC Housing and the City of Penticton met.

“The meeting allowed all parties to get acquainted with one another and for the City of Penticton to share their perspective. The City of Penticton expressed a number of requests for information they have related to supportive housing buildings in Penticton. BC Housing agreed to work to gather that information to respond to the city’s questions.”

READ MORE: BC Housing panel peppered with questions about Skaha housing project



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HousingHousing and Homelessness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
EDITORIAL: Heightened tension over face masks

Incidents of anger and conflicts over mandated masks happening too frequently

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, Tuesday, June, 12, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Okanagan-Shuswap real estate market continues hot start to 2021

Sales in February were up more than 100 per cent over last year, reports the Association of Interior Realtors

The City Park dock in Kelowna was underwater due to rising Okanagan Lake flooding in 2017. (OBWB photo)
Okanagan facing extreme flooding risk

Water board calls for updated Okanagan Lake level management

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Lisa Jilg is pictured at her store with signs requesting the donation of items for those struggling with mental health challenges, and those experiencing homelessness. (Contributed)
‘He just wanted to be accepted’: Okanagan mother opens up about son’s fatal overdose

Judgment toward those with mental health challenges needs to stop, says West Kelowna mother

A protest has been planned for March 5, 2020 over Penticton council’s decision to reject an application from BC Housing to keep an emergency winter shelter open over a year longer than originally planned. (Jesse Day - Western News)
‘Bring your tent’: Protest planned in Penticton’s Gyro Park over winter shelter closure

Protesters plan to show council ‘what the result of their decision will look like’

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

John Hordyk said it isn’t fair to just look at COVID-19 deaths as many survivors are experiencing long-term impacts, himself included. (Photo by Rachel Muise)
Not getting better: Revelstoke man diagnosed with post-COVID-19 syndrome

‘I hope the damage isn’t long term, but it could be permanent’

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki responded to BC Housing minster David Eby’s remarks that the city has put themselves at risk of creating a tent city Wednesday, March 3, 2020. (Western News file photo)
Penticton mayor calls out BC Housing minister for ‘irresponsible fear-mongering’

Council recently rejected BC Housing’s request to keep a winter shelter open longer than first planned

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

Most Read