Approximately 50 protesters gathered at Gyro Park in Penticton Friday, March 5 to protest council’s decision to close Victory Church Shelter. (Jesse Day - Western News)

Approximately 50 protesters gathered at Gyro Park in Penticton Friday, March 5 to protest council’s decision to close Victory Church Shelter. (Jesse Day - Western News)

BC Housing to use provincial powers to keep Penticton shelter open

Penticton council voted Tuesday to reject the shelter’s extension for a second time

The province will be following through and using its paramountcy powers to keep Penticton’s Victory Church shelter open.

Minister David Eby announced that the province would be following through on its promise to utilize its powers to keep the 42 residents of the shelter from being turned out onto the street following Penticton council’s decision, on Tuesday, to reject the permit extension for a second time.

READ MORE: Penticton council unanimously rejects Victory Church shelter extension a second time

“I’ll be blunt, people across the province wonder why Penticton would be turning out 40-plus people living in a homeless shelter into a local park, especially seeing what’s happening in Victoria and Vancouver and Nanaimo,” said Eby. “I have no doubt when the province uses authorities like these, people in local communities like Penticton look at that with concern and rightly so. I dislike it less than an encampment forming in Penticton.”

During council’s decision on Tuesday, the Mayor made comments that raised some eyebrows in the community, when he expressed that the money going towards the shelter might be better spent funding Riverview Hospital, which has been under reconstruction since 2017 after having been closed in 2013.

“We are in agreement that the money could be better spent than on an emergency shelter with limited capacity and services,” said Eby. “It is not an option to take everybody from the homeless shelter in Penticton and move them to the Riverview Hospital. That’s not something that happens in British Columbia in 2021.”

READ MORE: Victory Church shelter to stay open with or without Penticton council support

To address the growing issues with mental health and addiction among those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless, BC Housing has been working on complex care buildings that would provide more dedicated support for people who are unable to be housed in even supportive housing. Eby noted that Kamloops and Kelowna had been two cities at the forefront of calls for such housing.

Despite not owning the property that the shelter is currently operating out of, Eby said that he had been assured BC Housing was on solid legal ground with invoking the Interpretation Act, and that if Penticton council tries to withhold authorizing a building permit for Skaha Lake Road that the province would be legally clear to override the city again.

Even with an admittedly tense relationship, Eby said that he hopes to hear from council on how to address homelessness in the community beyond the current situation.

“I’m very interested in having a discussion at the political level with Penticton about how we move forward, given they don’t want the shelter open past the end of March, and from my perspective, it’s simply non-negotiable that about turning the people from the shelter out into the parks. So, if we could get past this one issue I do think we could work with each other. “

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


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC HousingMunicipal GovernmentPenticton

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

Just Posted

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

The small fire was in the Big Eddy. (Contributed)
Revelstoke grass fire extinguished

The blaze is the first of the season in our area

Twin falls in Yoho National Park. Yoho is one of the mountain parks whose draft management plan is now available for review. (Claire Palmer photo)
Local input sought to shape future of mountain national parks

Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks are amongst those seeking input

The city has decided to apply to have the Jordan River area withdrawn from Crown Land disposition, which would put the decision on how the land is used and protected in the hands of the city. (File photo)
City of Revelstoke applying to withdraw Jordan River from Crown Land

At the moment the province has control over what is developed in the area

Arlene Howe holds up a picture of her son, Steven, at a memorial event for drug overdose victims and their families at Kelowna’s Rotary Beach Park on April 14. Steven died of an overdose at the age of 32 on Jan. 31, 2015. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Kelowna mothers remember children lost to the opioid crisis

It has been five years since illicit drug deaths was announced a public health emergency

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

A Keremeos family lost their home after a fire shortly before midnight on April 13. No injuries were reported. (Contributed)
Keremeos home destroyed in late-night fire

The family inside was unharmed

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

Naloxone
Op/Ed: Interior Health CEO speaks on five years of strides and challenges in overdose crisis

In 2020, close to 4,000 people across IH had access to opioid medications

Somewhere in the pack being celebrated by his teammates is Vernon Vipers forward Zack Tonelli, who scored in overtime Wednesday afternoon, April 14, to give the Snakes a 6-5 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in B.C. Hockey League pod play at Kal Tire Place. (Liza Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers bite Salmon Arm Silverbacks in OT

Snakes blow 5-3 third-period lead, rally in extra time for 6-5 pod play result over rivals

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

New parking meters have been installed on Main Street, Ellis Street, Front Street, Nanaimo Avenue and Padmore Avenue in Penticton. (City of Penticton photo)
Pay parking now in effect in downtown Penticton

A spot downtown will now cost you $2 per hour

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Most Read