Coun. Niall Paltiel said a recent letter to the provincial government affords the government an opportunity to adequately address concerns about plans for supportive housing project on Prosser Road before any final positioning by the municipality. (Black Press Media File).

Coun. Niall Paltiel said a recent letter to the provincial government affords the government an opportunity to adequately address concerns about plans for supportive housing project on Prosser Road before any final positioning by the municipality. (Black Press Media File).

Central Saanich calls on province to clarify questions about supportive housing project

Letter outlines for four areas of concerns, including level of support for future residents

The District of Central Saanich is asking the province for additional assurances about a supportive housing project with one councillor openly questioning it.

A letter drafted by Coun. Niall Paltiel, signed by Mayor Ryan Windsor on behalf of council and passed unanimously earlier this month, highlights four broad categories of concern around plans by BC Housing to build 39 supportive units in the 1900-block of Prosser Road.

The concerns include the nature of actions planned to build community confidence; the need for transparency in the process used by BC Housing to select the future operator tasked with running the facility; the availability of supports for current and future residents; and commitment to ongoing neighbourhood and municipal responsiveness.

“The fundamental philosophy of the District of Central Saanich is to create a healthy, sustainable and safe community in which citizens have the opportunity to thrive,” said Windsor. He added that the municipality wants to make sure the project “gains social licence within the local neighbourhood and is contextual to the neighbourhood and our municipal, emergency services and healthcare resources.”

While the letter does not take definitive position for or against the proposal, it includes comments critical of BC Housing.

“Concerns about public safety and neighbourhood security remain unanswered and must be addressed,” it reads. “We know there are successful supportive housing projects and failures, so we need to be realistic in addressing the issues. When residents move in next year, will they be greeted by the community with fear or welcomed as neighbours? The choice belongs with BC Housing.”

RELATED: Central Saanich residents protest supportive housing project

RELATED: Supportive housing proposed for Central Saanich promises to be a ‘good neighbour’

Paltiel said the letter gives the province an opportunity to address the concerns of the community and council. “At the end of the day, this is about supporting the neighbourhood and the neighbours in Saanichton and Central Saanich.”

Based on his observations of the neighbourhood, Paltiel said a more contextual outcome for the site would be housing for individuals, possibly people aged 55 and up, who do not require significant monitoring or support, noting later this reflects his personal position.

“Ultimately, picking up people from (downtown Victoria) and moving them, which is everybody’s concern, is not going to mean success for those residents. And I definitely do not think it means success for our existing residents in the neighbourhood as well.”

Paltiel said the necessary resources for mental health and addiction issues are not necessarily available in Central Saanich. “So it’s my concern that the province’s housing-first approach in this instance is looking a lot a like a housing-only approach.”

RELATED: MLA Adam Olsen and housing minister face off over Central Saanich housing project

The province and BC Housing are committed to being good neighbours, according to a ministry spokesperson in a lengthy statement to Black Press Media.

“We understand that the community has questions about how the Prosser Rd. building will operate. BC Housing has been hosting virtual community engagement sessions to address neighbourhood concerns and will continue to hold these sessions in the lead up to the building’s opening.”

The statement noted an operator for the site has not yet been selected but Central Saanich is welcome to participate in the evaluation committee.

“It is our experience that after a few months, residents stabilize and public disturbances decrease dramatically. We know from evidence in B.C. and internationally that communities are safer and healthier when people have housing and the supports they need,” the spokesperson said, citing a building on the Lower Mainland where residents voiced concern over proximity to schools, but the crime rate dropped 24 per cent.

Central Saanich’s letter marks the latest piece of public discourse around the facility, which has received opposition from several quarters, but also support, including a group of Central Saanich residents.

The group held a small rally earlier in the week in support of the project. “There is much evidence to show that safe, affordable housing is a crucial element in enabling people to overcome challenges and begin living independently,” a statement by the group read. “There are people in our community of Central Saanich currently experiencing homelessness, addictions and mental health issues.”

Do you have a story tip? Email:

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Saanich Peninsula

Just Posted

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read