Now what

Terrace, B.C. council's decision to reject homeless shelter rezoning proposal sets precedent

TERRACE city council took the relatively easy way out when, albeit by a 4-3 vote, it said ‘no’ to the Ksan House Society’s bid to rezone an empty office building downtown so it could be converted into an extreme weather homeless shelter.

But in saying ‘no’ council has accepted the moral commitment and much harder task of now finding a way to say ‘yes’ to such a shelter.

The moral commitment comes from councillors and the mayor emphasizing the need for such accommodation even as the majority vote said the desired Lazelle Ave. location next to the post office wasn’t suitable.

The hard task stems from the precedent council has now set. If it turned down this location for reasons of suitability, changes to its Official Community Plan, etc., council has effectively kiboshed any other rezoning proposal for other locations in the city’s downtown area for much the same arguments against will surface again.

And placing such a shelter outside the downtown core is no guarantee scenes of alcohol-induced public disorder and equally disconcerting gatherings of homeless people and others in locations such as Brolly Square and George Little Park won’t continue.

Indeed, it’s fair to say the above very public and, to the vast majority, undesirable displays helped build opposition to Ksan’s rezoning proposal in the first place.

Editorial, The Terrace Standard, May 4, 2016