Location for Temporary Use Permit – 511 Church Avenue
Applicant: Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre
This application is seeking a three-year temporary use permit to operate a cold-weather shelter with a maximum of 10 beds, seasonally (November 1 to March 30), and to store a maximum of 1 metal storage container during the time that the shelter is in operation, legally known as Lot 5, Block 16, District Lot 2450s, SDYD, Townsite of Oliver.
That Council approve Temporary Use Permit 2020-18; and That as a condition of the permit, the following works be completed as per Figure 10 of the Director of Development Services report dated November 9, 2020, to provide adequate egress from the south side of the building to the street and to provide privacy from 6242 Kootenay Street:
• a fence be installed along the eastern half of the south property line.
• an emergency access to the street be provided through the existing rock wall; and
That Staff be directed to issue the permit.
The subject property is zoned AI (Administrative, Institutional and Cultural) and is designated by
Official Community Plan 1370 as HR (High Density Residential). The subject property is approximately 628.0m2 (6,760ft2) in area and is occupied by The United Church. The subject property is located in the downtown area, close to nearby services, with a surrounding pattern of development of residential, commercial and institutional uses.
As part of Council’s Strategic Plan (2018-2022), one of the priorities is to investigate and identify
potential opportunities within the community for cold weather shelters. The Housing Needs Report, completed in early January 2020 identifies that there are no shelter beds or housing units for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in the Town of Oliver.
As of December 2019, there are an estimated 50 youth who are provisionally housed and 32-40 people who are homeless or living in trailers or vehicles. Provisional housing refers to those without security of tenure, who are staying temporarily with friends, family, or sometimes strangers. This is often referred to as ‘couch surfing’ or the ‘hidden homeless’. Many of the people living in trailers or vehicles do not have access to safe winter heating.
This application is seeking a three-year temporary use permit to operate a cold-weather shelter with a maximum of 10 beds, seasonally (November 1 to March 30), and to store a maximum of 1 metal storage container during the time that the shelter is in operation. The shelter would occur within the bottom floor of the existing United Church, which is approximately 3,200ft2 in size.
The basement has an existing kitchen, along with bathroom facilities and a separate room that could be cordoned off if a resident has COVID-19 symptoms. A small renovation will occur to add a shower and laundry facilities, along with minor building code upgrades. An existing floor plan has been attached to this report. The metal storage container will be located at the south west corner of the property enabling the clients to store their belongings in a safe place during the time that the shelter is in operation.
The proposed cold-weather shelter will be operated by Desert Sun Counselling & Resource Centre. The facility will be high-barrier, meaning that clients have to be homeless and cannot have consumed drugs or alcohol on the day that they are entering the shelter. Desert Sun will staff the facility 24/7 with 2 staff working at all times. The facility will be in operation 24/7 but clients will be confined to the shelter between 10pm and 7am, meaning that no admissions or discharges will occur during this time. Clients will have their own space and a shared space for socializing and eating, while abiding by Covid-19 protocols. Clients will have access to three meals a day, as well as access to mental health services and help with securing employment.
A letter has been attached to this report which provides further detail on the shelter operation from Marieze Tarr, the Executive Director of Desert Sun Counselling & Resource Centre. It is unlikely that the proposed cold-weather shelter will open without the support of BC Housing. This funding will be applied for once a government is in place and funding applications are being accepted. At this time, due-diligence is being completed, such as ensuring that the land use is in place, obtaining quotes for building code upgrades and ongoing operation costs.
• ensure that Temporary Use Permits are not considered a substitute for a rezoning
o in this case, a temporary use permit is a more appropriate option, given that a rezoning application would allow the cold-weather shelter on a more permanent basis. Allowing the use on a temporary basis enables re-evaluation by Council after three years. As per Section 22.2 of the OCP, the Town of Oliver may consider the following criteria in evaluating a temporary use permit application:
• the use must be clearly temporary or seasonal in nature.
Staff feel that the proposed use is clearly needed in the community and that the proposed location is appropriate. The proposed cold-weather shelter would help to address the homeless concerns identified in the recent Housing Needs Report while also completing an item identified in Council’s Strategic Plan. The cold-weather shelter will help to reduce the amount of Staff time associated with dealing with housing encampments on Town owned land.
Adjacent property owners within 100.0m of the property will have received notification of this application with written comments regarding the proposal being accepted until the commencement of the regular Council meeting.
Source: Town of Oliver staff report – Council Meeting Monday November 9th