The SEAPARC arena has been used since the end of April as a temporary isolation space for Sooke’s homeless population. The shelter is shutting down early due to youth camps being held at the facility starting on June 29. (Dawn Gibson/Sooke News Mirror)

The SEAPARC arena has been used since the end of April as a temporary isolation space for Sooke’s homeless population. The shelter is shutting down early due to youth camps being held at the facility starting on June 29. (Dawn Gibson/Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke temporary homeless shelter packs up early

Occupants to leave facility by June 22

Organizers of the temporary homeless isolation space at SEAPARC Leisure Complex are working on an exit strategy for June 22.

The shelter must pack up camp earlier than anticipated due to SEAPARC hosting youth camps starting June 29.

Originally, the temporary homeless shelter was expected to stay open until June 30.

“We knew that this was coming, so it wasn’t much of a surprise,” said Jen Wilde, homelessness programs coordinator, for the Sooke Region Communities Health Network and director of operations for the COVID-19 response isolation shelter in Sooke.

She noted things have gone well at the camp, and is expecting to provide more information soon on progress made by individuals using the camp.

“We are still looking for a managed exit strategy, and then figuring out what is next,” said Wilde, noting some housing options are expected to come available in March 2021, so she hopes to figure out a plan on how to provide support for Sooke’s homeless population until then.

The temporary shelter is operated by the Sooke Region Communities Health Network, in collaboration with B.C. Housing, regional health authorities and municipal governments, who designed the project as part of a community response plan for the pandemic.

The arena has provided housing and the ability to self-isolate for Sooke’s homeless population and residents at risk of homelessness.

The shelter was prepared for a maximum occupancy of 45 spaces – 30 indoor and 15 outdoor – but only 17 individuals have stayed throughout, said Al Beddows, chairman of SEAPARC board.

Beddows said he was concerned when the project was first announced, but was pleased with how everything turned out.

“It changed my view, personally. Jen Wilde and the homeless coalition did a wonderful job in a difficult situation,” said Beddows. “It was great to see.”

RELATED: Sooke rec centre to provide self-isolation space for homeless people

RELATED: Online petition launched against Sooke homeless shelter

Beddows said there hasn’t been any major issues around the property, and that the biggest challenge was due to public misconception, about what was actually happening at the recreation centre.

“I got a lot of nasty e-mails,” chuckled Beddows, saying many people were concerned about homeless populations from Victoria coming to Sooke, but this was not the reality.

He added that some people were trying to sneak in and take photos inside the arena, and others have driven by throwing beer bottles at the shelter.

“Some people called to report that the occupants were outside,” said Beddows. “It’s not a prison. The residents are free to come and go as they wish. This was a space for Sooke’s homeless population to have the option to self isolate, not be on lockdown.”

In the contract for the temporary shelter, SEAPARC negotiated with B.C. housing to receive $400 per day for usage of the facility, as well as a $9,000 commission for set up and tear down.

Beddows said he isn’t sure what the tear down will look like, but doesn’t expect it to be a big process, and that the place will be completely sanitized and ready to go for kids camps on June 29.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey is one of four athletes being inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year. Here, she is pictured with her mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
Four new names added to Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

Matt Pettinger, Gwen Spencer Hethey, Peter Lawless and Roger Skillings being inducted

The District of Saanich is accepting nominations for the 2021 Environmental Awards until June 1 at 4 p.m. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Nominations now open for Saanich’s 21st annual Environmental Awards

Awards recognize individuals and organizations making Saanich more sustainable

Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside president Angus Macpherson visited the Wear2Start Society boutique in Victoria to present a cheque to the society’s vice-president Alessandra Ringstad (left) and president Angela Mangiacasale. (Courtesy of Wear2Start)
Rotary club donates over $11,000 to Greater Victoria non-profit for women

Wear2Start Society provides clothing for women in need

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read