Local MLA Adam Olsen	said he appreciates the concerns raised by an online petition demanding Saanichton residents be consulted prior to the supportive housing proposed for 1909 Prosser Rd. but reserves comment on demand to pause project. (Hansard TV)

Local MLA Adam Olsen said he appreciates the concerns raised by an online petition demanding Saanichton residents be consulted prior to the supportive housing proposed for 1909 Prosser Rd. but reserves comment on demand to pause project. (Hansard TV)

Residents petition against supportive housing project in Central Saanich

MLA Adam Olsen acknowledges concerns, but reserves comment on calls to pause project

Local MLA Adam Olsen said in an interview late last week that he will share public concerns about plans for supportive housing in Central Saanich, while declining to comment on more specific demands.

Olsen said he appreciates the concerns raised by an online petition demanding Saanichton residents be consulted prior to the supportive housing proposed for 1909 Prosser Rd. and plans to share them with the minister responsible for housing.

“I will be sharing those concerns and be really strongly expressing to him that it is important that if the government is going to proceed with this, that they have a really positive working relationship with the municipality and ensure that all of the services that are needed to support this facility are in place,” he said.

RELATED: More supportive housing on the horizon for Victoria

Federal, provincial and regional officials announced late last month the plan to build 39 supportive housing units at 1909 Prosser Rd. with construction to start this spring as part of a $13.1 million federal funding program.

It stipulates accepted projects must be completed within 12 months and help vulnerable populations. Also receiving funding are 52 supportive housing units in Saanich and David Eby, provincial attorney general and minister and minister responsible for housing, said last month work on those projects will start immediately after the province invoked paramountcy and skipped municipal approval.

Walter Bly, who launched the petition, said the province’s action set a dangerous precedent and calls for a pause on the project. “What they are going to do will forever change the neighbourhood,” he said. “So they should take that into consideration and allow time for consultation with the neighbourhood.”

RELATED: Feds put $13.1 million toward 91 new affordable housing units in Saanich, Central Saanich

Olsen declined to comment on this demand for a pause.

“I’m not going to comment on that until I have had the opportunity to hear them out (petition organizer) and have that conversation, as well as get the perspective of the minister,” he said. “I think what is important is that we take the appropriate measures to negotiate the various relationships that are here.”

Signees of the petition – which reached more than 900 signatures as of Monday morning – have expressed concern that the location of the supportive housing appears inappropriate given its proximity to public amenities such as Centennial Park.

When asked about evidence to support claims that supportive housing would lead to increased crime rates, Bly pointed to Penticton, where political leadership has blamed supportive housing for high crime rates. Others have expressed fear that property values in the area will drop.

Olsen said Central Saanich needs a variety of housing including supportive housing, while acknowledging practical questions.

“I want to take a compassionate approach,” he said. “I recognize that people are expressing concerns and I want to negotiate through those concerns with people. And as well, we have people in our community who need housing and we have solutions for that and be compassionate to that as well.”

Central Saanich council approved the RM-5 (residential apartment use) zoning on the property in October 2018 and the residential use conforms to the existing land use bylaw. A housing agreement registered to title secures its use as affordable rental housing and market rental housing.

Central Saanich received notice of the project just prior to the announcement from BC Housing, which is working with the Capital Regional District (CRD) on the project.

According to the official description, the project gives priority to people at risk of homelessness in the Central Saanich region who need minimal supports and are ready to live independently. BC Housing has also promised to engage the community in setting up a community advisory committee.

“In the coming weeks, you will be invited to learn more and provide feedback about how can work together to successfully integrate this new housing into the community at upcoming neighbourhood dialogue sessions,” it reads.

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.


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

Just Posted

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Victoria’s economy is expected to bounce back fairly easily, according to a new report from BMO Capital Markets released April 15. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria in good position to bounce back post-pandemic, says BMO

City’s smaller size, lower COVID-19 caseload and diverse industry base bode well

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria rose to 5.7 per cent in March 2021, an increase of 0.8 per cent compared to February 2021. But the local unemployment rate remains the among the lowest in Canada. (Black Press Media File)
Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate rises to 5.7 per cent

The increase marks a reversal from recent months, but local economy among the strongest in Canada

Saanich police officers were one group of dozens that submitted dance clips to the Greater Victoria Festival Society, to help create the Dance Across Victoria video montage. (Youtube/Screenshot)
WATCH: Saanich police, Victoria mayor bust some moves in new Dance Across Victoria video

Montage features submitted dance clips from across Greater Victoria

Saanich’s Malia Brodie competed in the Vancouver qualifiers for the 2020 National Championships. (Photo by BC Sport Karate Snaps)
PHOTOS: Saanich teen awarded $1,800 Karate Canada bursary to pursue officiant certification

Malia Brodie, 18, has black belt, nearly 15 years experience in karate

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read