A concept drawing of the new Port Alberni Shelter Society facility

Alberni shelter meets city bylaws – council

Letters against a new Alberni shelter facility on Eight Avenue keep coming into the city even though it can’t stop the process.

Letters speaking against a new Port Alberni shelter facility on Eight Avenue keep pouring into the city even though the city apparently can’t stop the process.

At city council on Monday, discussion about the issue came up after councillors received more letters for and against the shelter issue.

“What power do we have over this? I don’t know what we can do as a city council,” Coun. Dan Washington said.

The proposed shelter would be located on Eighth Avenue across the street from the existing one on a swath of land owned by the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

The facility would be developed in partnership with VIHA and BC Housing. In September 2011, the society received a $95,000 grant from the ACRD, which it used for pre-design services for a new facility.

City manager Ken Watson reminded council that the site is already properly zoned, therefore no public process is required. And city councillors already approved the plan shelter officials presented, so no formal approval by the city is required, Watson said.

And the land the shelter wants for a new facility is owned by VIHA, not the city.

The city has done what it can, Mayor John Douglas said. “We’ve facilitated a meeting between the parties. And we still have the power to continue to receive comments,” Douglas said.

The deal for the land isn’t cemented yet, Coun. Cindy Solda said. “I’ve talked to VIHA and they’re following this. They’re watching this,” she said.

The shelter society held an open house on March 14 to solicit public input into the project and display schematics of the proposed two-storey building.

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