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Housing development will affect Summerland community organizations

Food bank will relocate temporarily, churches will share space as 60-unit housing is constructed

An affording development in Summerland will affect a number of community organizations.

The development, for 13204 and 13214 Henry Ave., is for a five-storey building which will have 60 units of affordable housing, with the Summerland Food Bank and Resource Centre on the ground floor.

In late February, Summerland council gave its approval to the project. Variances were also granted in order to accommodate the five-storey height and reduce the number of parking spaces for non-residential use.

The location includes the site of Summerland United Church, which also houses the Summerland Food Bank.

The property purchase has yet to be finalized, but representatives from Turning Points expect this will be completed soon. Construction on the new building is expected to begin in the fall.

The housing units are needed in Summerland, Turning Points say.

“There is a lack of family housing in Summerland, and no housing sites that support this combined demographic,” a presentation Turning Points stated when the development concept was presented to Summerland council in February.

Kelly Fehr of Turning Points said conversations with Summerland United Church and the Summerland Food Bank and Resource Centre have been ongoing for the past eight years

In order to proceed with the development, the church would be demolished. As a result, the United Church would hold its services at the site of St. Stephen Anglican Church, 9311 Prairie Valley Rd.

The two churches would both use the space, but would hold separate Sunday services, said Anne Ellis, student minister at Summerland United Church. She said the churches have similarities and are expected to function well in the shared space.

She added that part of the Summerland United Church’s goal is to share material and spiritual resources in order to lessen hunger, homelessness and loneliness.

The Summerland Food Bank and Resource Centre will relocate to the Summerland Alliance Church, 14820 Victoria Rd. N. until the new building is completed.

Hal Roberts, resource coordinator at the food bank, said the Alliance Church will be a good fit for the food bank. The church also has the Summerland Community Gardens. Some of the food grown at the gardens goes to the food bank.

While the Alliance Church is farther from Summerland’s downtown core than the existing food bank location, Roberts does not see the location as a problem.

In addition, he is hoping to have BC Transit provide a bus stop near the church.

John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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