BC Housing has proposed that Victory Church shelter at 352 Winnipeg Street in Penticton be extended until March 31, 2022. It was originally intended to be a shelter April 1, 2021. (Jesse Day - Western News)

BC Housing has proposed that Victory Church shelter at 352 Winnipeg Street in Penticton be extended until March 31, 2022. It was originally intended to be a shelter April 1, 2021. (Jesse Day - Western News)

Penticton homeless shelter to stay open with or without council support says Minister

Province will keep the shelter operational until new housing is available at Skaha, says Eby

Penticton’s Victory Church is staying open as a winter shelter, whether it has the support of Penticton council or not.

Minister David Eby, responsible for housing, reiterated the points expressed in the letter from BC Housing to council, and that the province would be keeping the shelter operational until housing is avilable.

“What’s not really up for debate is whether or not the shelter continues operating,” said Eby. “We need those people to stay sheltered and not move into the park.

“It’s really one last chance and one final hope, from my perspective, that we can work together on this still.”

The shelter has 42 beds, which are currently fully occupied, housing a chunk of the street homeless, which stands at over 160, according to Eby.

READ MORE: ‘Disappointed and baffled’ housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

The province is determined to avoid a homeless encampment in Penticton, after seeing the difficulty other communities faced, including Maple Ridge.

Maple Ridge was the most recent community that the provincial government had used the paramountcy powers available to them to override the municipality and push forward with a supportive housing project the municipality didn’t want.

Without a city’s support, the province can move faster on a project, however Eby admitted that it comes at the price of local knowledge and support.

“My operating philosophy is that we’re better off if we’re working with the local government. The solutions that we’re going to get are more responsive to local conditions, there’s more community buy-in and there’s less tension when the facilities are opened.”

One of the issues between the council and province is a lack of communication, as Eby said has not spoken with Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki since March 3, when Eby said the mayor hung up on him.

“My phone’s on and my door is always open for Penticton to walk through, and I look forward to talking with them, but we’ll see,” said Eby.

READ MORE: Penticton city council meets tonight to discuss BC Housing demands

With the shelter, the plan is still to have the supportive housing project on Skaha Lake Road finished, after which point the people currently in Victory Church would be moved out of the shelter and into the supportive housing.

“It is my understanding that we could potentially have that site up and running within a year,” said Eby.

The property was bought and is owned by BC Housing, and if necessary, Eby is prepared to use the paramountcy powers to push past not receiving a building permit from the city council.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC Housing

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

Just Posted

Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz received his COVID vaccination April 5. 
(Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
Liams Lowdown: It’s time to vaccinate

All Revelstoke residents above the age of 18 can get a COVID-19 inoculation

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

(Photo: pixabay.com)
Morning Start: More human twins are being born now than ever before

Your morning start for Friday, April 16, 2021

Twin sisters Kyla, left, and Jordyn Bear have accepted scholarships to play at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York for this upcoming fall. The 17-year-olds dream of playing together for Canada in the Olympics one day. (Jesse Johnston/CP photo)
Lake Country twins inspire Indigenous hockey players

Grade 12 George Elliot Secondary students Kyla and Jordyn Bear earn hockey scholarships at NCAA Division 1 school

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Firefighters battled a burning home on farmland in the north end of Vernon Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Homeowner taken to hospital after Vernon home destroyed by fire

Firefighters engaged in a lengthy battle against the engulfed structure Saturday afternoon

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Members of the Okanagan Screen Arts Society received a cheque for $1,500 Thursday, April 15, 2021. The funds are to help the society’s efforts as they prepare take over operation of the Vernon Towne Cinema at the end of July. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Okanagan dealership gives local cinema a lift

Vernon Watkin Motor Ford, in business for more than 100 years, donated to the theatre with nearly as long a history

Vernon Jubilee Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over in surgical unit of Vernon hospital

The outbreak affected four staff, 10 patients and led to three deaths in just over two weeks

A group of youth in Kelowna's Knox Mountain Park are suspected as having violated the B.C. Wildlife Act by harassing a pair of nesting bald eagles with a drone Friday, April 16, 2021. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Nesting bald eagles harassed by youth-piloted drone in Kelowna

Conservation Officers are hoping to hear from anyone who witnessed the Knox Mountain incident

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Most Read