Homelessness as evident by last year’s tent city in Saanich is not just a problem of the core communities, says the executive director of Our Place Society (Black Press File)

Our Place Society would like to see modular housing in Saanich Peninsula communities

Don Evans, executive director, said he would like to see modular housing in every CRD municipality

A leading advocate against homelessness in Greater Victoria says he would like to see modular housing in every community of the Capital Regional District, including Sidney, North Saanich and Central Saanich.

“[Greater] Victoria is made up of so many different municipalities, my objective is to open some modular housing in the CRD,” said Don Evans, executive director of Our Place Society, in an interview with the Peninsula News Review several days after speaking in Sidney earlier this month.

“If we had every municipality provide one location for 40 to 50 units of modular housing, it wouldn’t have a negative impact on any of the communities, because they [would be] small, they would be well-run, they would be staffed,” he said. “This problem would be cleared up.”

RELATED: BC Housing remains open to modular housing in Saanich, but acknowledges slow regional up take

Evans said he has not yet approached the three municipalities as current efforts focus on winning the support of municipal officials in the City of Victoria, then in the District of Saanich.

One issue that will help determine the success of this initiative is the availability of land. “Last year, the provincial government announced 2,500 units of modular housing. We should have gotten about 10 per cent of that based on the population, which is about 250,” he said. “We got 21 units — almost nothing. Nobody would give up any land.”

But if land is a necessary condition for modular housing projects, it is also insufficient. They also require support from residents in communities themselves — support that ultimately determines whether their respective municipal leaders will come on board.

“If we don’t get the neighbourhoods and the municipalities on side, we are not going to address this problem,” he said.

What municipal leaders currently hear is “anxiety of [their] residents,” said Evans. “We need to counter that [by reducing fear and anxiety] and start to push our municipal politicians to take advantage of the opportunities with the provincial government.”

So how much support does Evans anticipate from residents in the Saanich Peninsula, a rural region removed by geography, sociology and political leanings from the core communities?

“We know that Sooke is a community that is very supportive [and] they are very rural,” said Evans, adding some outlying communities have more land available than core communities. “So some of the outlying municipalities, as long as they are on good bus routes and close to services, they can be pretty good locations. I do understand your question though about the resistance of some of the municipalities. We know that is going to be our biggest challenge. So it is about communication and working with people.”

Ultimately, residents on the Saanich Peninsula do not live isolated from the rest of the region and have a stake in finding solutions to the symptoms and causes of homelessness, which do not confine themselves to downtown Victoria, he said.

“We should all care about people that are vulnerable and marginalized and do we what can do no matter where we live,” he said. “If people actually see the challenges and understand it, they certainly want to see a solution to it,” he said later. “It’s all our community here. People do care. Our support for Our Place comes not just from Victoria, but from the whole region.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Sidney Capital Iron closes its doors in January

The store opened in 1988 and staff continue to search for a ‘suitable location’

Canada Post carrier seriously injured in Saanich dog attack

The employee was bitten on the hand and arm

Victoria resident faces discrimination from BC Transit since transitioning to a wheelchair

Daniel Sands says they are often not allowed on buses, even when there is room

Single dad reaches out to Greater Victoria community to help kids celebrate Christmas

A young family was overwhelmed with the warm response from strangers

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Investigators confirm three died in B.C. plane crash

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Suspect steals 150 pairs of cosmetic contacts from Nanaimo party supply store

Incident happened at Pattie’s Party Palace on Rutherford Road on Thursday

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Dec. 10

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read