Earlier this week city council reported that community members had received information packages about the cold weather shelter at the United Church in downtown Revelstoke, despite the consultation process not yet being approved by council.
Several councillors and the mayor said that they had people contact them via email and come to their places of business expressing concern about the proposed shelter as well as the asking why some people had received information packages while others had not.
Marianne Wade, director of development services agreed that this is an issue and going forward city staff will work with BC Housing and the Revelstoke Women’s Shelter, who are spearheading the project, to engage with the community.
CAO Dawn Low also suggested a community information meeting to make sure everyone has a chance to understand the project. That meeting has not yet been scheduled.
Other concerns shared by the councillors included whether or not creating a shelter would in fact attract more homeless to the city and what they would do in the morning when the shelter closes for the day.
Presented at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Aug. 15, the proposed Cold Weather Shelter would be located in the basement of the United Church.
There would be 10 beds, and the shelter would be open to homeless people age 19 and over.
Lynn Loeppky, executive director of the Women’s Shelter Society, said that several different venues were considered for the shelter and for various reasons didn’t work out.
“The shelter is intended for those individuals sleeping outside in the cold that are at serious risk of injury, illness or death due to the cold weather,” she said in an email.
For the winter shelter to be approved, the city needs to create a Temporary Use Permit system which would require an amendment to the Zoning Bylaw and a public hearing.