Before the site is developed, the Oak Bay Lodge could become a temporary shelter space. The Capital Regional District has asked staff to explore options for the building, which will sit empty once residents are moved to The Summit at Quadra Village. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

CRD explores option to use Oak Bay Lodge for people who are homeless

Motion asks staff to work with BC Housing, Island Health on possibilities

The Capital Regional District (CRD) will explore using the Oak Bay Lodge as temporary housing for people who are homeless.

The facility currently operates as a senior centre but will soon sit empty when residents are moved to The Summit at Quadra Village, a seniors long-term care home replacing both the Lodge and Mt. Tolmie Hospital.

The move was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Island Health announced in March that The Summit could be used to alleviate hospitals if the virus filled them to capacity. That wasn’t necessary – but as the new building fills, an old one will sit vacant. In August, the CRD takes possession of the property.

On Wednesday, July 8 Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps brought a motion to the CRD to have staff work with BC Housing and Island Health and explore the possibility of using the Oak Bay Lodge as temporary housing for the region’s unhoused, or as a COVID-19 related hospital facility.

CRD Board Chair Colin Plant gives credit to Helps for suggesting the space.

READ ALSO: Seniors move to new, modern Victoria long-term care home starting in July

“We know these are such unprecedented times that require us to be more open-minded than ever,” he says. “This building was no longer going to meet the future needs for older adults, but in a pandemic maybe we can get a bit more life out of that building, so let’s have that conversation.”

Plant emphasizes that Wednesday’s decision was in favour of an exploratory motion – nothing has been decided.

“We want to ensure that anything that might happen at that site is going to be effective and work within the neighbourhood.”

Oak Mayor Kevin Murdoch, also a director on the CRD board, said whatever the decision is – it will be temporary. A comprehensive development approach, including community consultation, will determine future, permanent use of the land, he said.

“It is important to note, an empty property doesn’t suit the community well,” he said. “But we have to consider public safety and appropriate use of property…housing is one potential, there may be nothing.”

In an email, Island Health says both Oak Bay Lodge and Mt. Tolmie Hospital have infrastructure challenges that would create difficulties for supporting acute care.

“We are working with our communities and community partners on how to best support our population through the anticipated second wave.”

READ ALSO: Homeless will not be asked to take down tents during COVID-19 pandemic: Victoria Mayor


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
nina.grossman@blackpress.ca Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Homelesshomeless housingoak bayVictoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke minor hockey set to get kids on ice by mid-September

President says re-opening dependent on SEAPARC installing ice in time

Gathering marks 10 years since nearly 500 asylum-seekers landed off Victoria shore

The 492 people fleeing violence, war crimes and genocide in Sri Lanka were detained for months

VicPD responding to robbery suspect barricaded in building on Cook Street

Residents are asked to avoid the 2300-block of Cook Street

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Edward Milne students clean up Whiffen Spit

Volunteers find styrofoam, cigarette butts and a single shoe

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Filmmaker James Cameron’s Comox Valley winery up for sale

The director behind The Terminator and Titanic puts Beaufort Winery on the market after six years

B.C. announces multi-year plan to double treatment beds for youth with addiction

This will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 province-wide

Most Read