The City of Duncan is considering helping to set up a daytime warming centre in the field houses at McAdam Park. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

City of Duncan asked to help homeless with warming station at McAdam Park as weather turns colder

City considers setting up daytime warming centre at McAdams Park

With the cold weather in full swing, the City of Duncan has been asked to help establish a daytime warming centre for the homeless in the field houses at McAdam Park.

The United Way’s Melaina Patenaude, who is also a member of the Cowichan Coalition to Address Homelessness and Affordable Housing, said in a letter to council that the coalition’s ultimate goal is to establish safe, affordable and supportive housing for everyone in need in the Cowichan Valley.

“But we recognize it will take time to gain that objective,” Patenaude said.

“In the interim, we must house or otherwise support those who are living without a shelter, and it is our hope that the City of Duncan will help meet this end.”

Duncan Mayor Phil Kent said that after reading the letter, council voted unanimously at its meeting on Nov. 20 to ask staff to prepare a report on the financial and community impacts of establishing a warming station at McAdam Park.

Patenaude said the coalition’s latest homeless count found almost 90 people living outside of shelter in the Valley.

She said a similar figure was estimated in February, 2016, when the Warmland Shelter was at capacity.

FOR RELATED STORY, CLICK HERE

“Community members caught out-of-doors in the winter need, at minimum, a place to warm up, shower and get a cup of something hot to drink,” she said.

“Laundry facilities are important as well. One such model is in Nanaimo. With a combination of provincial and health-care funding, Harris House provides supported daytime drop-in space serving citizens who are without a place to take the chill out of their bones and shelter from the cold. We believe similar funding could be found for Duncan, given a suitable location.”

Patenaude said the field houses at McAdam Park, which have change rooms and shower facilities, were made available for this purpose in the past and, given the support of the province, it could be done again.

“If council provides the space, heat, hot water and janitorial services, or some part of them, we are confident the province can be convinced to support, supervise, and supply them with whatever is necessary to keep our community members warm and clean this winter,” she said.

“The space would, of course, be operated as a warming station outside of any hours required by sporting teams (at McAdam Park), although that need appears to be minimal from mid-November to February of most years.”

Kent said he expects the staff report will be prepared by about mid-December, and council might call for a special meeting for it to be tabled as the next scheduled council session where it can be presented won’t occur for many weeks.

“We have done this before [at McAdam Park] but we need to consult with the community to let people know this is being considered and get input before we make any decisions,” he said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Thanksgiving Food Drive coming to your door in Cowichan

Next week will be your chance to help meet the food crisis

Cowichan Community Centre Elder College celebrates 20th anniversary

Volunteer instructors are the key to success.

Flashback: Teddy bears, dinosaurs, cougars, oh my!

Remember these stories from Cowichan Lake?

Drivesmart column: Clear your frosty windows BEFORE driving

85 per cent of the information we require to drive safely comes to us through our eyes.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Most Read