Vancouver Island communities want to partner on regional homelessness strategy

Elected officials decided to collaborate on homelessness, invasive species and other issues at the Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Association meeting in Nanaimo this weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 15-16, resolutions by member governments will be debated.

Due to homelessness in many cities on the island, the City of Courtney passed a motion requiring AVICC and UBCM leadership to facilitate a meeting of the Island Mayor, Regional District Chairs, Aboriginal Chiefs, BC Housing and BC Government officials, Call for a strategy to address homelessness and its impact on the island.

Courtenay Councilman Doug Hillian said the issue is familiar to all AVICC members and will only get worse. Downtown businesses and residents are feeling the side effects, he said, and a coordinated, provincial-led approach is needed so members don’t fight each other over “scarce resources”.


“We need a coordinated approach so we don’t have one community being told ‘we don’t build tiny houses,’ while another community is doing it,” Hillian said. “We need a coordinated approach so that we have a solid plan to address the housing needs of each of our communities in a timely manner so that we can get people off the streets, whether it’s complex care, supportive housing, subsidized housing … that way Our downtown community and those who live nearby can continue to feel safe.”

The City of Port Alberni passed a resolution asking UBCM and AVICC to call on the BC Ministry of Health to work with local governments and BC Emergency Health Services to improve the coordination of emergency health services and to call for adequate funding and staffing so that municipalities and Regions are not overburdened.

City of Nanaimo resolution on extreme weather shelters approved. It asks UBCM to ask BC Housing, the BC government and provincial health authorities to support local government commitments to provide resources for dedicated and pre-determined long-term locations for heating and cooling centers and qualified professionals skilled in assisting people with health needs, such as mental health and substance use issues.

Scotch broom removal is a common concern for the island community, and the Qualicum Beach Township resolution calls on AVICC and UBCM to work with the BC government to develop guidelines to combat the “aggressive spread” of invasive plants across the province, “including implementing broom-fires along long long brooms burning” and encouraged local governments to manage factories within city boundaries.

A decision by the city of Parksville to require the province to work with energy providers on a plan and provide local governments with earmarked subsidies to build an adequate supply of agricultural clean energy was defeated.

A press release noted that representatives from more than 50 communities along British Columbia’s coast came to Nanaimo for the annual general meeting.

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