PARKSVILLE — A $6.9 million, 49-unit supportive housing development has overcome the last significant hurdle towards completion.
Parksville Council approved the rezoning of 222 Corfield St. South for the project with a 5-2 vote Wednesday night. It includes a modular unit for people to live in and 24-hour staffing supports to help residents overcome various obstacles.
It will be operated by the Island Crisis Care Society. Executive director Violet Hayes said they’ll do everything they can to unite the community behind the project.
“We do really want to see the community come together and support this building and especially the people who will be moving in,” she told NanaimoNewsNOW.
The development ripped the Parksville community apart from the beginning, when the province and BC Housing announced the scope of the project.
When explaining why she voted in favour, coun. Mary Beil said there’s little-to-no evidence supporting claims from the opposition.
“It’s understandable that people have fears of the unknwon and it’s quite common to imagine worst case scenarios,” she said. “The creation of stable housing is expected to have a reduction in crime rates.”
Laughter and mockery rang out from the gallery against councillors who voted in favour of the rezoning. Many were heard yelling “Shame on you” when the motion was passed.
To re-unite the community, Hayes said the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness will meet next week to develop a plan. It will hopefully include meetings with neighbours in the surrounding area and a committee to address any concerns which arise.
“We hope to have a lot of input and work together for a good solution.”
With the rezoning hurdle out of the way, the Society and the City of Parksville are focusing on the development and building permit stage. Hayes said she expects the process will be quick and all permits will be approved before the fall municipal election.
The supportive housing complex is expected to open in the spring of 2019.