Overnight shelter on First Ave. approved

The Town of Ladysmith authorized the signing of a temporary three-year permit

  • Aug. 16, 2016 8:00 a.m.

The Town of Ladysmith authorized the signing of a temporary three-year permit for an extreme weather shelter at 631 First Avenue, but over objections that too many services for the homeless are being located in the downtown, and that the concentration is hurting businesses.

An extreme weather response shelter provides overnight spaces to the homeless “during situations where sleeping outside might threaten their health or safety,” says a report to council. Ladysmith’s will have 10 beds, available when conditions warrant between Nov. 1 and March 31.

Last year an extreme weather shelter was offered at various locations in Ladysmith on 78 nights, but a more typical pattern might be 20 nights during the five months when the service is offered, people who deal with the homeless estimate.

As well as a place for the homeless to rest and sleep during inclement weather – between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. – the shelter will provide a breakfast for clients. It will not be opened during the day, or on nights when weather conditions are not extreme.

But while councilors agreed there is a need, concerns were raised the Rialto apartments at the corner of First Avenue and Buller Street are not the right place.

Coun. Duck Paterson said shelter was provided last year without locating an extreme weather response centre (EWR) in the downtown, and he wondered why the service could not continue to be offered in other locations.

“I don’t believe we should be adding this kind of atmosphere to the downtown,” he said. “Where are they (the clients) going to go when it’s closed?”

He also wondered about locating an extreme weather shelter across the street from the Ladysmith Inn pub.

An area business owner agreed the concentration of social and homeless services in the downtown is too high. “There is no doubt in my mind that a shelter is needed,” he said.

“I think we need it. I think putting another potential problem in that area – it’s too much. You’re going to hurt the businesses.”

As well as having to clean up litter – including needles – in the alley behind his business, he said he has a hard time preventing his customers seeing street scenes and transactions that are upsetting. “My biggest concern? Is it the right place?”

Mayor Aaron Stone spoke in favour of the permit.

“These people exist in our community,” he said. “When you say ‘What are they going to be doing during the day,’ very much the same things they are doing today.”

Ladysmith is small enough that, even if you locate an EWR elsewhere in the community, the homeless people using it would gravitate to the downtown during the day. A central location is needed, he said, because homeless people had trouble finding out when the service was available last year and where it was being offered.

He noted as well that a temporary permit is being issued. “It doesn’t have to be renewed after three years if we find we’ve made a mistake,” Stone said.



Just Posted

RCMP seek motorists allegedly racing on highway in Chemainus prior to bridge crash

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are searching for two motorists who were allegedly racing… Continue reading

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Ladysmith woman fundraises for sister, family left homeless by Chemainus fire

A Ladysmith woman is raising money for family members left homeless after… Continue reading

Ladysmith woman who jumped from ferry meets rescuers

A local artist who survived five hours in the frigid waters of… Continue reading

Stz’uminus artist John Marston helps carve Yos totem pole for Malahat Nation lands

Project involving collaboration between Marston, Moy Sutherland Jr. and Malahat Nation youth

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Want to be on map of ‘must-see’ Christmas lights from Ladysmith to Chemainus?

Created a holiday masterpiece on your front lawn ? Have a neighbour… Continue reading

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Most Read