At the November 9, 2020 Council meeting Town Council directed that a public information meeting be held and Staff continue to look for alternative temporary shelter locations in Oliver.
The virtual public information session was held on December 3, 2020 and the public was also provided the opportunity to submit responses through the Town’s website.
Responses have been summarized and combined and are attached to this report for Council’s review. The on-line questionnaire saw 64 respondents with 31 of those in opposition to the proposed Temporary Use Permit at 511 Church Avenue. Multiple comments received from the same IP addresses were combined into one comment.
Limited policing, the emergency response time, high amount of thefts in the area, too close to schools and residents, and property values were among the main concerns. The majority of the comments from the 31 non-supporters feel that safety is the biggest concern. Although, the respondents opposed to the TUP, 24 of the 34 are in favour of a Cold Weather Shelter located elsewhere in the Town.
Suggestions for another location were varied, repeat suggestions were the Air Cadet Hangar, old library on Station St, Portuguese Club, Doctor’s office on Main (5980 Main) and empty retail space downtown. Additionally, late feedback form submissions, 4 supported, 3 supported with comments, and 3 did not support. The majority are worried about drug use and a comment repeated in the online questionnaire, in regard to 555 Earle Crescent now being cleaned up the neighbourhood finally has ‘peace of mind’.
The Information Meeting held on December 3, 2020 comments resoundingly were concerned about safety, drug use, theft, decreasing property values and the proposed location being too close to residential properties. Staff reached out to the Oliver Elks Club, Oliver Legion, property owners of 6239 Station Street and 6018 Main Street to determine if they would be interested in housing the Cold Weather Shelter.
Three replies were received, Oliver Elks Club has advised that presently they are unable to commit to providing the necessary space; however they would be willing to revisit this at a later date should additional information around security and funding be provided. The Oliver Legion has indicated they are unable to commit for a number of reasons, however their main reason was that they are already committed to providing ESS space, should an emergency arise.
The property owner of 6239 Station Street is open to discussion on this matter. The second floor has approximately 2500 square feet of open space; however the property owner also indicated the only way that will work, is if it can be used as a Hostel the rest of the year. This property is within the TC (Town Centre) zone in which a hotel/hostel is a permitted use. The biggest hurdle around this proposed use would be the various building code upgrades required, especially the fire separation between the two floors. Parking requirements would have to be evaluated more thoroughly as well. Desert Sun has been provided with a copy of the floor plan to provide comment on. The floor plan is attached for Council’s reference. The property owner indicated that the offices have been removed and there is a bathroom and a shower stall. Although Staff attempted multiple times no response was received from the property owner of 6018 Main Street.