The original proposal for a $16.6 million

The original proposal for a $16.6 million

Homeless shelter funding request denied

Plans for a new homeless shelter in Cranbrook are being scaled back after the Province says there’s no funding

  • Jan. 22, 2014 4:00 p.m.

The proposal for a new Cranbrook homeless shelter will be scaled back after the B.C. government said there is no funding available at this time.

In a letter to Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetski on Nov. 27, Rich Coleman, Minister Responsible for Housing, wrote: “The Province does not currently have a funding program available to support the proposed shelter. We have an obligation to work within budgetary constraints and for this reason, unable to provide funding for the project at this time.”

The Salvation Army and the Cranbrook and District Community Foundation submitted a proposal for a $16.6 million homeless shelter to B.C. Housing in fall 2011. The proposed facility would include 15 overnight beds for men and 15 for women; 16 second-floor units for stays up to two years; 16 third-floor units for stays longer than two years; and four family units with three bedrooms in each.

Besides housing, the facility will have a commercial kitchen and cafeteria, and space for amenities such as hair cuts, access to computers and counselling.

The shelter would be built on land donated by the Salvation Army in Slaterville. The City of Cranbrook is waiving development cost charges. The Regional District of East Kootenay has agreed to provide $250,000 to the cause. But it all hinges on B.C. government funding.

The news that funding is not forthcoming was not a surprise for the project’s lead drivers, Captain Kirk Green of the Salvation Army, and Neil Cook, chair of the Community Foundation. Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett warned the pair that the Minister is concerned by the cost of the project.

Bennett suggested a meeting with B.C. Housing to scale down the project.

“It seems to be the minister’s main concern is the cost per square foot, so we are trying to reduce that cost per square foot of the building,” said Cook.

“We are looking at going back to the two-storey building we initially put forward.”

Doing that would take out the extended stay units and family units, but keep the overnight shelter beds, and units for stays of up to two years. The proposal may also be altered to remove the requirement that the facility be built to LEED Gold standards.

Ironically, it was B.C. Housing, an agency of the Ministry of Housing, that initially suggested the homeless shelter be expanded to include a third storey with extended stay units.

“It has caused a bit of heartburn over the last year and a half,” said Cook.

“They are the ones who wanted us to add it,” added Green. “So we are going to discuss with them: what do you want us to do?

“We are going to have some open and very frank discussions with them, as we have had all along. They have been very good.

“We want this project to go, Bill wants this project to go, the homeless people need this project to go, we’ve lived through five winters since then, so let’s do what we’ve got to do to make this work.”

MLA Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for the Core Review, said that Coleman’s letter is not a final answer.

“It was a statement of our capacity to fund capital at the time,” said Bennett.

He remains committed to seeing the facility come to fruition.

“I did meet recently with Captain Kirk and Neil and I reiterated my support for the project as my number-one priority for Cranbrook.

“I will keep working on finding funds for this. We are in a very challenging time for money. Our government is committed to balancing the budget and so very few capital projects are being approved.”

The homeless shelter project was born in January 2009, and went through two years of planning and community consultation before the project was submitted for approval.

“We understand that this project has been five years in development, and the economy has gone through a major reset in North America. The reality is that B.C. Housing is now looking at ways to try and serve the need in Cranbrook, but at the same time not break the bank,” said Cook.

Donations for the shelter project continue to roll in from the East Kootenay community to the community foundation and Salvation Army. Green said that over the holidays alone, $10,000 was donated to the facility through the Salvation Army.

Green said he remains confident that the homeless facility will eventually be approved.

“We are assured that at some point this project is going to go ahead. We are very thankful for the support that (B.C. Housing is) giving us, and especially our local MLA, who is very much behind the project and is trying everything he can.”

“Stick with us. We are going to get this thing built,” added Cook.

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Ryan McKenzie of the Kimberley Trails Society made an in-depth presentation to City Council describing the initial steps of the Electrify the Mountains eBike trails project. This is a look at the project one map.
Kimberley City Council hears details on Electrify the Mountain project

At the meeting of City Council on Tuesday, June 8 Ryan McKenzie… Continue reading

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the 2021 BC Summer Reading Club. Kimberley Public Library file
Kimberley kids invited to join summer reading club at Public Library

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the… Continue reading

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read