The regional district committee of the whole is looking favorably at paying down the debt for an emergency shelter/supportive housing unit proposed for the 800 block of Cliffe Avenue by the end of next year.
If the CVRD board approves a two-year, four per cent debt repayment structure, taxpayers will have paid $300,000 in principal and $18,266 in interest by the end of 2012. The remaining cost will be covered by annual reserve contributions.
Last year, the district purchased property at 865, 877 and 889 Cliffe Ave. to house a 24 hour, seven-day-a-week emergency shelter. The cost was $470,000 plus HST. Front-line workers applaud the proposed location but area businesses do not want a shelter in their neighbourhood. Courtenay Coun. Larry Jangula has suggested the area around Chuck’s Trucks at 180 Old Island Hwy. is more suitable.
The district is working with BC Housing in an effort to seek partnerships for constructing and operating the shelter, which has become a key issue of the district’s housing and homelessness standing committee.
Formed last year as an advisory body to the CVRD board, the committee is headed by Victoria consultants Wendy Zink and Diana Butler, who presented an update of their work Tuesday at the committee of the whole financial planning session.
Zink notes a “glaring lack of 24/7 services for the homeless,” especially during daytime hours, in the Comox Valley. She and Butler also mentioned the lack of supportive-transitional housing, and social housing for low-income singles and families.
“Developing housing takes time and patience,” said Zink, noting a housing proposal such as a shelter can take several years to develop.
The standing committee was preceded by the Mayor’s Task Force and the Comox Valley Commission to End Homelessness. Its mandate expires March 31.