The issue of Sooke’s lack of an extreme weather shelter was raised at the Dec. 10 District Council meeting. (file photo)

Still no extreme weather shelter in Sooke

Coun. Ebony Login appointed as council liaison to address the issue

Sooke’s lack of an extreme weather shelter for the homeless is “critical” and there’s “an urgent need to start thinking about a plan B,” in the wake of the failure of the Greater Victoria Extreme Weather Protocol to find a location for a shelter, says a local politician

Coun. Jeff Bateman raised the issue at the Dec. 10 council meeting after sending an email to council. His concern were prompted by Sooke News Mirror coverage of the issue.

READ MORE: Extreme weather shelter needed

Bateman introduced the issue at the meeting, but quickly turned the floor over to Jen Wilde, the regional coordinator of the GVEWP.

“We have an indication of need here in Sooke,” Wilde said.

“The people who live rough here don’t have what they need in the event of extreme weather. They don’t have parkas. If people can’t stay dry, they can’t maintain their health, and they can’t maintain their own lives.”

She stressed the emergency shelter was separate from the overall issue of sheltering the homeless and informed council her agency had funding available to help supervise an extreme weather shelter, if only a site could be located for the program.

“We (the GVEWP) operate from November to the end of March and we activate about 40 times a year,” Wilde said.

READ MORE: Shelter activated in Victoria

“This is a response so that we don’t lose them while we are trying to figure out what to do (about the broader issue),” she added.

Mayor Maja Tait spoke about the stakeholders meeting she’d attended in September and how she’d been upset with the fact that no emergency shelter existed in Sooke.

“We’re grateful to the [Sooke] Baptist church for what they have done in the past, but now the challenge is to find a suitable space moving forward,” Tait said.

The Sooke Baptist church hosted the shelter until 2015, but B.C. Housing ended the initiative after the winter of 2015-2016 by not applying to have the shelter operate the following year.

“It wasn’t reapplied for. The program operates on an annual basis and we just didn’t apply for it the next year,” Wilde said.

“We didn’t actually have anyone accessing the shelter (the year before). There were one or two people using the shelter and we assisted them individually.”

Pastor Rick Eby noted it was B.C. housing that cancelled the arrangement with the church to house the shelter.

“We didn’t pull out. It was B.C. Housing that cancelled it,” said Eby, adding that he can’t comment on why it’s been alleged by some that it was the church that cancelled the program.

He went on to say that in light of the church’s past experience, the church attended the meeting with Tait in September and was willing to talk about resuming the shelter and what it would look like.

Those discussions have not resulted in the resumption of the program.

Sooke council appointed Coun. Ebony Logins as a liaison to the GVEWP and Logins told the Sooke News Mirror that she has been in contact with Wilde and is intent on finding a way to resolve the issue.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Stop work order at Sooke salmon hatchery devastates volunteers

CRD steps in as some volunteers give up their efforts

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Comic Con swings into town, June 9

Variety of cosplay prizes to be won from $100 – $450

VIDEO: Protesters in Penticton gather to rally against sleeping-on-sidewalk bylaw

The proposed bylaw would outlaw sitting or lying on the city’s downtown sidewalks

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

Most Read