The City of Duncan turned down a request to use the field houses in McAdam Park as a temporary daytime warming station for the homeless. (File photo)

Plans for a warming station for the homeless in Cowichan dropped

But an extreme weather shelter for women will likely be set up

Plans for a daytime warming station for the homeless in the Cowichan Valley have been scuttled.

But an emergency weather women’s shelter will likely move forward soon in the former Charles Hoey school on Castle Place in Duncan.

The United Way’s Melaina Patenaude, who is also a member of the Cowichan Coalition to Address Homelessness and Affordable Housing, said the plan for the warming station didn’t come together.

The warming station would have allowed homeless people in the Valley to have a shower, do their laundry, connect with services and stay warm during the day in the colder months.

But Patenaude said a location couldn’t be found for the station, nor could a lead operator or a core funding source for its operations.

The City of Duncan turned down the request to allow the warming station in McAdam Park’s field houses at a council meeting last month.

The city cited a number of reasons for its refusal, including that the field house doesn’t have hot water and funding for the warming station was not in place, but also acknowledged there was significant opposition to the plan from the park’s neighbours.

“We needed more time to put the plan together that we just didn’t have,” Patenaude said.


But Patenaude said plans to place a temporary extreme weather shelter for women in Charles Hoey school, located adjacent to McAdam Park, will move forward as soon as possible.

The Cowichan Valley school district has already granted use of the school for the shelter, and a lead operator has been identified who is capable and willing to run the facility.

Senior government will provide the bulk of the funding for the shelter and three local governments have been asked to donate $3,000 each to help cover administrative costs.

The City of Duncan decided not grant the money for the shelter after a standing-room only group of neighbours advocated against it at its last council meeting on Jan. 8.


Patenaude said the shelter will be a two-month pilot project and will only be in operation during times of the day when the Cowichan preschool next door is not open.

“The shelter will also only be open when there is an extreme weather alert in place,” she said.

“The shelter only has funding until March 31, unless there is some extreme weather beyond that. We intend to begin operations at the shelter as soon as we get the logistics together.”

Patenaude said the United Way and the Cowichan Coalition to Address Homelessness and Affordable Housing are aware of the concerns of the shelter’s neighbours and will try to respond to them.

She said shelter proponents met and talked to some of the neighbours opposed to it about their concerns after the last council meeting in Duncan.

“We’re always available to discuss the project and people can contact us at our offices,” Patenaude said.

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