The Ellice St. shelter

March 26, 2008 at 2:04 pm Leave a comment

It was only a few weeks ago that the relocation of the Streetlink shelter from Store St. to Ellice St. was the big news story, not the needle exchange.

Yet the controversy continues, with Burnside-Gorge residents preparing to put up a fight. While open to sustainable housing, they are adamantly opposed to a shelter.

Don McTavish, manager of shelters for the Victoria Cool Aid Society, at proposed new location for Streetlink shelter -- a city-owned playground in Rock Bay, on Ellice Street.

The Times Colonist covered the story here.

I was quoted in the January 22, 2008 article saying,

Robert Randall, president of the Downtown Residents Association, said the projects will go a long way to allowing Steetlink to get back on track for what it was intended to be. “It wasn’t meant to be a dumping ground for the most disadvantaged.”

When the building was constructed a few years ago, two vital components were omitted: easy access for the disabled, and most importantly, some sort of central courtyard where residents can socialize without occupying the sidewalk outside. As the shelter grew far beyond capacity, residents and others spilled out onto the street, creating a nuisance for businesses, police and residents.

There will never be a perfect site for a homeless shelter but the Ellice St. site seems to be the best from the limited selection the City had to choose from. Turning the Store St. shelter into supported housing units is a suitable use for a building like this and will have less negative impact on its neighbours.

Entry filed under: social issues.

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