Quesnel City Council provided an update earlier this month on the Elliott Street – Bridges Supportive Housing project and the Housing Agreement and Good Neighbour Agreements which have been put in place, as the new facility nears completion.
According to a report from city staff, when final development approvals were being considered for the supportive housing facility on Elliott Street in 2018, council required that B.C. Housing enter into a Housing Agreement with the City to identify conditions of the development. These conditions included specifications around use of the property and requiring that B.C. Housing ensure the operator of the facility enter into a Good Neighbour Agreement with the City.
The report states that the Good Neighbour Agreement is “an agreement entered into by the Operator, City, and another parties, mutually agreed to by the City and the Operator, that defines a process that is open to the public to proactively and reactively address neighbourhood and community concerns.”
During a council meeting on July 2, Quesnel mayor Bob Simpson reiterated three components of the Good Neighbour Agreement that council would like to see as the Quesnel Shelter and Support Society (QSSS) undertake leading up to and through the opening of the Bridges facility.
“The three points that we would like to see as a council are the door to door canvassing undertaken by the shelter society prior to or immediately after the opening of Bridges, our preference is prior to so there’s no surprises,” said Simpson.
“The second, that the Good Neighbour Agreement feedback opportunities are monthly for at least the first six months of the operating of Bridges and thirdly, that a meeting be established as soon as possible after the opening of Bridges between one of our standing committees the shelter society and B.C. housing to immediately begin to discuss the future of Seasons House.”
The QSSS is hosting a virtual Good Neighbour Agreement meeting on Wednesday, July 22 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., during which completion and expected occupancy dates for the Bridges facility will be discussed. Information regarding the tenant selection process and future meeting dates will also be provided during the meeting along with the QSSS addressing some frequently asked questions from the community. Individuals interested in joining the virtual meeting may do so by registering at www.qsss.ca.
Mayor Simpson also noted that he and council feel the facility will be an important resource for the Quesnel community and that council has a responsibility to insure that the project is run in a way that insures the safety of the community.
“Our hope is that the Bridges supportive housing is a real value added to our community and to the vulnerable population in our community and none of us feel ill will towards it,” said Simpson.
“We have an obligation to the greater public safety in our community and we have got some concerns, we don’t want Bridges to go down the path that the shelter went down in terms of shifting gears on what they were offering, the kind of client group that they had there and spill over that we had into the immediate area and into the downtown core. So that’s what we are trying to prevent.”