Penticton’s city council and mayor John Vassilaki are asking the Union of B.C. Municipalities to back them up in their fight over the Victory Church shelter.
Mayor Vassilaki sent the UBCM president Brian Frenkel a letter requesting that they prepare a letter to send to Premier Horgan in support of Penticton’s position.
“My letter to Mr. Frenkel made it very clear that the issue at hand is a matter of land use and cooperative planning between two levels of government,” said Vassilaki. “The Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, David Eby, would have British Columbians believe that the City of Penticton is not doing its part to support the housing crisis. This is simply not the case and information provided directly from the Minister shows that Penticton has the highest number of supportive housing beds per capita in the Interior region. All of these beds were developed with Penticton council’s input and with respect for council’s role in the decision-making process.”
The city of Penticton currently has one supportive housing space per every 143 residents, compared to one per 300 in Kelowna and one per 495 in Vernon.
“Today our previous working relationship of bilateral cooperation has been replaced by a unilateral hammer that puts our residents at risk of having the Provincial government plan our community. As such, council has reached out to Mr. Frenkel and the UBCM membership at large to seek their support in reversing the Province’s conduct towards Penticton, or any other community they disagree with.”
Following council’s decision in March to reject an extension to the shelter permit at Victory Church, and reject further reconsiderations of that decision, the provincial government utilized their paramountcy powers to override council’s decision and keep the Victory Church shelter operating past the March 31 permit expiration.
A survey was sent out to the public asking residents if they would support the city taking legal action against the province, with an estimated cost of $200,000 to $300,000. That survey closed April 10 and the results will be shared at council’s next meeting April 20.
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