Debate rages over whether city council should approve a rezoning which would set in motion the Ksan House Society purchase of an empty office building downtown which would then be renovated and turned into a shelter for the homeless. It brings to a head a reality that has been the case in Terrace for decades: there is a core of mostly older aboriginal men addicted to alcohol and other substances who have nowhere to go save for the streets and public places.
The All Nations Centre on the corner of Sparks and Davis has been a partial answer. It is owned by a society affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church which operates a soup kitchen there Sundays for the homeless and others on very low or limited income. On weekdays, the Terrace and District Community Services Society, through business support and volunteers, also offers food and a daytime place where people can congregate.
Yet it’s not a suitable place for sleeping, which is at the centre of the Ksan proposal, for any chance of an improved quality of life rests first with safe accommodation.
With all these complex societal issues funneled into this rezoning decision, city council is being placed in an unfair situation. It is not a social services agency and it must consider all sides. But the debate by council followed by the votes of each councillor and the mayor on the rezoning proposal will certainly define the city’s character for years to come.