Over 30 residents tried squeezing into council chambers on Monday as Grand Forks city council debated the rezoning of land on 70th Avenue. This as the City acquired 70th Avenue lots adjacent to the 19th Street BC Housing Project location back in March, and have proposed that site now be made available for a supportive housing project.

Councillor Christine Thompson says many other suggestions for the 2nd Street BC Housing Project location were initially made, and when the city purchased 4 lots next to the 19th street BCH Project location she thought it would be a perfect place to relocate it:

“….and I take full responsibility for that, that was proposed to BC Housing, and that was the only….the only…. other location that we ever proposed to BC Housing that they even had a second look at.”

Thompson adds that she hopes and is confident this development will not cause the concerns the community may be anticipating, later adding that the facility is only proposed to house 10 or 12 hard-to-house clients.

Councillor Neil Krog wasn’t so sure:

“That number is just based on how many people are at the Warming Centre right now, and then there’s talk about camps everywhere on the outskirts. So no that’s what it’s designed for, supportive housing, it’s a wet facility, and it will fail.”

Krog adds he supports the decision going to the public, but doesn’t support the project period.

Mayor Brian Taylor says the 2nd Street BCH Project is going from bad to worse:

“I think this project is costing way too much of city money, I think it’s moving from a bad situation which…. Second street was not great but we’d come to a point where we were going to make it work and it was going to be an inviting entrance to the City….”

Some of the concerns heard were regarding surrounding facilities, and the high concentration of people being forced into the area by the potential relocation. Council passed the motion to give first and second reading, but a public hearing is required before adoption. The Public Hearing goes June 5th at 3PM, and the public is encouraged to come out make their opinions heard. Mayor Taylor says avenues are being pursued to hold it in a larger space than in council chambers. More on that to come.