Alberni city council refuses to endorse homeless initiative’s location

The Kuu-us Crisis Society is set to spearhead transitional housing out of the Johnston Road armoury but not with city council's endorsement.

Disagreements about location and freezing out city council’s involvement have thrown a wrench into the Kuu-us Crisis Society’s plans for a homeless initiative at the former Johnston Road armoury.

The issue arose during Kuu-us executive director Elia Nicholson-Nave’s presentation to council about the project at their Monday meeting.

Kuu-us is set to assume tenancy on the federal property after winning a bid for it through a federal surplus property process last year.

The organization’s intention was to utilize the property’s existing buildings for administrative, program deliver and four transitional housing units.

The area already contains residential housing, Nicholson-Nave said.

Councillors listened pensively before not supporting the project’s location.

“The issue I have is ‘what is the best use for that property’,” Mayor Ken McRae said.

The surplus property process might have been federal but the building is still located within the municipality.

“When does the federal government have a say over planning in my community,” McRae said.

“We have the final decision on that property.”

The land is located in a prime commercial location along a major tourism corridor, something several Valley businesses have privately expressed concerns about, McRae said.

“But they don’t want to say anything (publicly) because it will hurt their businesses,” he said.

Three groups under the yolk of the Community Stakeholders Initiative to End Homelessness (CSI) put in bids during the surplus process.

Council had discussions with one group, even talking about a possible land swap, but the group never made it to the final stage of the process.

Coun. Cindy Solda spoke against the project being run out of the Johnston Road property, and asked if some other federal property could have been used instead.

Kuu-us officials looked at two other properties including for former post office building on Argyle Street but didn’t find them suitable, Nicholson-Nave said.

It was unclear what role if any council played in the process.

“It’s unfortunate that we weren’t involved,” Coun. John Douglas said.

The Kuu-us presentation to council was verbal only and nothing was voted on by councillors.

However, councillors subsequently wouldn’t endorse a federal request for a letter of support for the initiative.

McRae held the line about the viability of the property after the meeting.

“There’s better use for the property and they need to work with us.”

Just Posted

Emergency notifications coming to the Alberni Valley

ACRD will expand the ‘Connect Rocket’ community alert system

Organizations helping Alberni’s marginalized feel the pinch

Operational demands, wage hike put hole in Bread of Life budget

Port Alberni votes to change way council pay is increased

New way will focus on Consumer Price Index, future councils

Port Alberni’s Salvation Army kettle campaign needs help

Dec. 15 is matching day at Walmart kettle

‘Ghost bikes’ installed to remember teen cyclists who died in Port Alberni

Cycle Alberni installs memorials to remember teens, remind all about road safety

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

GoFundMe helps Vancouver Island teen battle a rare cancer

Nanaimo’s Michelle Reilly, 16, battling spinal cord cancer, seeking possible treatment in U.S.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Most Read