Before the site is developed, the Oak Bay Lodge could become a temporary shelter space. The Capital Regional District has asked staff to explore options for the building, which will sit empty once residents are moved to The Summit at Quadra Village. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

CRD explores option to use Oak Bay Lodge for people who are homeless

Motion asks staff to work with BC Housing, Island Health on possibilities

The Capital Regional District (CRD) will explore using the Oak Bay Lodge as temporary housing for people who are homeless.

The facility currently operates as a senior centre but will soon sit empty when residents are moved to The Summit at Quadra Village, a seniors long-term care home replacing both the Lodge and Mt. Tolmie Hospital.

The move was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Island Health announced in March that The Summit could be used to alleviate hospitals if the virus filled them to capacity. That wasn’t necessary – but as the new building fills, an old one will sit vacant. In August, the CRD takes possession of the property.

On Wednesday, July 8 Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps brought a motion to the CRD to have staff work with BC Housing and Island Health and explore the possibility of using the Oak Bay Lodge as temporary housing for the region’s unhoused, or as a COVID-19 related hospital facility.

CRD Board Chair Colin Plant gives credit to Helps for suggesting the space.

READ ALSO: Seniors move to new, modern Victoria long-term care home starting in July

“We know these are such unprecedented times that require us to be more open-minded than ever,” he says. “This building was no longer going to meet the future needs for older adults, but in a pandemic maybe we can get a bit more life out of that building, so let’s have that conversation.”

Plant emphasizes that Wednesday’s decision was in favour of an exploratory motion – nothing has been decided.

“We want to ensure that anything that might happen at that site is going to be effective and work within the neighbourhood.”

Oak Mayor Kevin Murdoch, also a director on the CRD board, said whatever the decision is – it will be temporary. A comprehensive development approach, including community consultation, will determine future, permanent use of the land, he said.

“It is important to note, an empty property doesn’t suit the community well,” he said. “But we have to consider public safety and appropriate use of property…housing is one potential, there may be nothing.”

In an email, Island Health says both Oak Bay Lodge and Mt. Tolmie Hospital have infrastructure challenges that would create difficulties for supporting acute care.

“We are working with our communities and community partners on how to best support our population through the anticipated second wave.”

READ ALSO: Homeless will not be asked to take down tents during COVID-19 pandemic: Victoria Mayor


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
nina.grossman@blackpress.ca Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Homelesshomeless housingoak bayVictoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Saanich police search for potential victims, witnesses after series of unprovoked assaults

Police are looking for more information about two incidents from June 12

Crews respond to medical incident on West Saanich Road

Incident appears to be cleared, witnesses say

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Most Read