The City of Penticton is ready to sue the provincial government over the Victory Church homeless shelter.
Council voted unanimously to authorize legal action, following feedback from the public gathered through a survey.
“I think the city has no choice but to stand up for the betterment of our entire community. And a resolution is not to hardship one faction of our community to support another,” said Coun. Judy Sentes. “The fear that these seniors were expecting, the disrespect to the properties is just unacceptable. I think the majority of our community wishes for us to continue to put this position forward.”
In addition, staff will be drafting a letter on behalf of the city to formally request Premier John Horgan directly intervene as well.
That survey found that 51 per cent of the 3,472 responses from the public either agreed or strongly agreed with going forward with legal action at the taxpayers’ expense. A random survey of the public showed less support for legal action.
No registration was required to complete the survey, and it saw the highest response count of a city survey so far, according to staff.
The city’s estimated cost for legal action would range from $200,000 to $300,000.
Based on the shelter guidelines presented to the Safety and Security Committee on Monday, the Victory Church location would not be automatically disqualified.
Other aspects of the recommendation that council voted to move forward with include:
Directing staff to continue to negotiate solutions with the Province, BC Housing, the landlord, and operator to immediately close the 352 Winnipeg Street temporary winter shelter and respectfully transition all 42 current shelter tenants into other housing situations.
Directing staff to continue to work with the landlord to reduce nuisances and calls-for-service (bylaw, fire, and RCMP) under the Good Neighbour Bylaw, and for the City to take the appropriate measures to designate 352 Winnipeg Street as a Nuisance Property under the Good Neighbour Bylaw if nuisances and calls-for-service do not immediately stop.
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