Laura Cochrane, board chair for the Shelbourne Community Kitchen, says her organization helps people develop food preparation skills, while strengthening their ties with the community. Black Press File

Saanich extends permit for community kitchen

Shelbourne Community Kitchen receives second and final temporary use extension

The Shelbourne Community Kitchen will continue to operate out of the converted single residence home along Shelbourne Street.

Council Tuesday renewed the temporary use permit of the community kitchen for a second and final time.

“Shelbourne Community Kitchen has proven to be a success in our community,” said Coun. Colin Plant. “I believe this is something we should be encouraging. I am only worried what we are going to doing when the second final temporary use permit is over. How are we going to make sure this needed program continues?”

The existing temporary use permit was due to expire Sept. 16. Saanich first approved a temporary use permit for the facility’s current location in September 2014 for a three-year-period on an interim basis until operators could secure a permanent facility. Tuesday’s unanimous extension of the temporary use permit means that the facility will continue to operate out of 3541 Shelbourne St. for another three years.

Laura Cochrane, chair of the board governing the kitchen, said the extension will help residents across the Greater Victoria area including Saanich deal with insecurity. “Food insecurity continues to grow and be a persistent problem in our communities,” she said. “The number of people accessing foodbanks in B.C. in 2016 has increased and our program at the kitchen also continue to grow.”

The organization emerged in 2014 after representatives from partnering organizations — St. Aidan’s United Church, St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Lutheran Church of the Cross, Mount Tolmie Community Association and Camosun Community Association — had been noticing signs of rising food insecurity in the area.

Kitchen programs help participants learn how to source, choose and prepare healthy food more affordably through its a communal kitchen where participants receive cooking lessons from trained volunteers, almost half of which are also program participants. The kitchen also runs a garden and serves as a resource centre, building relations and resilience along the way. It also runs an emergency pantry program.

Staff recommended extension of the temporary use permit, noting the the kitchen is consistent with Saanich’s Official Community Plan. “The [kitchen] provides a much needed community service for community members living on low incomes,” said Sharon Hvozdanski, director of planning in a memo to council.

Coun. Vicki Sanders excused herself from deliberations.