BC Housing has rejected Penticton city council’s request for certain criteria to be met before the city issues a development permit for the supportive housing project going in on Skaha Lake Road.
In a letter to city council, BC Housing says it ‘does not accept that the requirements for such a condition is permissible under the Local Government Act’ and that city council should go back to what its own staff recommended and issue a development permit.
The letter appears in city council’s agenda package for the Tuesday, Aug. 17 meeting.
“For the 3240 Skaha Lake Road project, we have followed the normal City of Penticton land use and development guidelines and processes. The council report by city staff was unequivocally in favour of the application and the issuance of the development permit without conditions,” wrote John McEown, BC Housing director of development for the Interior region in a letter to city council.
Instead, BC Housing is requesting that the city bring the original motion with the original staff recommendation without conditions.
BC Housing stated it will work with council to address concerns related to the long-term operations of this housing but that needs to take place outside the development permit process.
According to McEown, there is a great need for this recovery-based housing and any further delays will hurt the most vulnerable.
BC Housing owns the land at 3240 Skaha Lake Road and will construct the four-storey 54 unit housing.
At the July 20 meeting, ASK Wellness Society (ASK) and the Ooknakane Friendship Centre (OFC) were in front of city council as the operators of the upcoming housing.
After more than two hours of discussion, council voted unanimously to approve a development permit subject to an agreement being reached between the owners of the property, BC Housing and the city to ensure the satisfactory future operations of the facility.
Council said it was supportive of the treatment facility, but wanting assurances such as a performance bond or covenants on the property.
“This is a made-in Penticton approach that focuses on recovery and brings in Indigenous support to help people get well and stay well,” said Ask Wellness Society’s Bob Hughes.
The residents will sign a program agreement committing to their ongoing recovery, healing, and wellness, which includes refraining from on-site substance use.
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