Year in Review: Winter weather shelter for women finally finds a home in 2018

North Cowichan, SD79 come through after Duncan nixes two locations

The end of 2017 saw tentative plans by members of the United Way and the Cowichan Coalition for Homelessness and Affordable Housing to create a winter weather women’s shelter in the former Charles Hoey school on Castle Place near McAdam Park.

By the end of the first week in January 2018, it was back to the drawing board after the City of Duncan denied funding to the project.

Dec, 21, 2017 Extreme weather shelter for women moving forward in Duncan

Jan. 11 City of Duncan denies funding to emergency women’s shelter

A standing-room only group of people who are against placing the women’s shelter in the school made their point clear at the city’s council meeting on Jan. 8.

Duncan city councillor Sharon Jackson, who voted against funding for the women’s emergency shelter, said the neighbourhood was already plagued by litter and crime from transient and homeless people.

Jan. 17 Women’s shelter not going ahead in Duncan

Jan. 19 Search continues for location for women’s shelter

Plans were officially scuttled after the City of Duncan changed its zoning bylaws at a special council meeting on Jan. 16 to state that homeless shelters are not allowed in residential areas.

Summer came and went without headlines but come fall, the issue was back in the news.

In early September, a temporary emergency shelter for women was being considered at 540 Cairnsmore St. in Duncan.

Staff at the City of Duncan recommended council give a green light to establishing the 15-bed shelter at the site of the former Duncan Primary School at the Sept. 17 council meeting after the Cowichan Women Against Violence organization began an application process for the shelter the previous spring.

Sept .14 Women’s emergency shelter being considered for Duncan’s Cairnsmore neighbourhood

Sept. 18 Duncan denies emergency shelter for women on Cairnsmore Street

The shelter was denied at the council meeting.

“It was a difficult and contentious meeting but, overall, the neighbours who were in attendance were compassionate and understanding of the need for an emergency shelter for women in Duncan,” Jackson said. “But they don’t want it at the cost of the day cares and seniors homes in that area. The neighbours are already under siege from unwanted behaviour in their neighbourhood.”

Things changed for the better come November when the Cowichan Valley School District’s board of education approved, in principle, the short-term lease of a vacant public building behind the Cowichan Community Centre for a cold weather women’s shelter. The Municipality of North Cowichan still had to get on board, however.

They heard from the public at their Dec. 5 council meeting.

Nov. 16 Cowichan Valley board of education give the green light to winter weather women’s shelter

Nov. 23 North Cowichan to hear from public, decide fate of winter women’s shelter on Dec. 5

A number of speakers and letter writers expressed concerns that the location was inappropriate for such a purpose, with some pointing out possible problems with a shelter being placed adjacent to a children’s Strong Start play centre called Wendy’s House.

But many of the approximately 25 speakers who talked to council about the issue pointed out how necessary it is to look after women in distress in the community.

North Cowichan’s council unanimously gave it the green light.

Nov. 30 Advocates say women’s winter shelter in Duncan is a necessity

Dec. 6 Duncan winter shelter for women expected to open this month

“Decisions about shelters can be difficult,” said Al Siebring, mayor of North Cowichan. “North Cowichan council has demonstrated enormous resolve and supported this application wholeheartedly. Council also commends the Cowichan Valley School District for making its land available for this shelter. Supporting initiatives like this makes our communities stronger.”



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Paper Excellence finalizes deal to acquire Crofton’s Catalyst Paper

Sale includes Crofton mill, plus mills in Port Alberni and Powell River

Foundation being built for the new Chemainus library to become a cornerstone of the community

All the services and amenities in keeping with the modern age

VIDEO: Harpdog Brown grinds out the blues at Osborne Bay Pub March 22

With his new band, he’s still offering a vintage vibe, just a different vintage!

Malahat artists beautify Mill Bay ferry terminal

BC Ferries terminal at Mill Bay has been beautified thanks to new… Continue reading

City of Duncan contemplates expanding borders

Residents will be asked opinion in upcoming citizen’s survey

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Most Read