City News Release – Oct 3

News Release
For immediate release

Quesnel Shelter & Support Society Confused about the Elliott Street Development Process

Quesnel, B.C. October 3, 2017 –The board of the Quesnel Shelter and Support Society (QS&SS) issued a press release today which “condemns, in the strongest possible terms” Mayor Simpson and City Council’s “obstruction” of the proposed supportive housing development for Elliott Street. City Administration believes that the Shelter Board does not understand the development process and as a result is mis-characterizing the role of elected officials in the development process.

The press release by QS&SS indicates a lack of understanding of the role of the Mayor and Council. City Council only has a voice through voted resolutions of Council, requiring a majority of Council voting in the affirmative. One Council member does not control the agenda. In addition, Council resolutions are almost always made with the benefit of staff reports and recommendations which take into account the legislative and policy framework already established at the City. To suggest that Mayor Simpson and fellow Councillors are “recklessly peddling” misinformation is offensive.

As part of the re-zoning process the general public has a legal right to clearly understand what is being proposed. The public hearing held by the City on September 18th, resulted in a number of questions that still need to be answered. City staff will be suggesting to Council that BC Housing hold another public information session to answer questions and clear up misunderstanding about the development. City staff will also be recommending to Council to hold another formal public hearing following the information session.

To help look after community interests the City needs to know how the new facility will be operated. Without a clear understanding of who will be served by the new development, and what services will be offered, it’s impossible for the City to develop an understanding of the community impacts. This is why the issue of drop-in services is important.

It’s important to understand the roles of BC Housing, QS&SS and the City in this development proposal. As the developer, BC Housing’s role is to develop housing and provide supportive services to its clientele through a contractual relationship with the Service Provider. QS&SS is the service provider that has been operating the existing Season’s House and whom BC Housing has suggested they will contract for the new facility. The City’s role is to consider the interests of the whole community, not just a targeted clientele.

With regards to the Housing Agreement and the Good Neighbour Agreement which the City is requiring to be completed; these are the tools that will hold this new development accountable. It would be negligent if the City did not require these.

The City commits to continuing its work with BC Housing and other key stakeholders as this development goes through the normal process. The City supports seeing the continued improvement of services and facilities for our most vulnerable residents and recognizes our role in ensuring an evaluation of all land use impacts for landowners and the community as a whole.