‘It’s heartbreaking’: Residents of Parksville shelter fear they will soon be out in the cold


Rod Nall had finally found housing on the mid-Island for the first time in a decade.

“This is my home,” said Rod Nall, a longtime homeless Parksville resident.

Since the 59-year-old and 21 others were moved into the former V.I.P. motel, which has opened as supportive housing.

“To see the good these people are doing, it’s beautiful,” said Nall.

The shelter named Ocean Place has been operated by BC Housing for two months without any apparent problems. Yet just days before Christmas, they are worried they will soon be closed.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Jennifer Hislop, Manager at Ocean Place.

“I’m afraid that the council and our mayor are going to shut this down by Christmas and we are going to have 22 people on our streets,” said Kelly Morris, a Peer Support Worker at Ocean Place.

“I can’t live another winter in this weather,” said Nall.

The issue is the motel it is located in, is not zoned for supportive housing.

According to Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne, BC Housing never consulted council and he only found out about it when he drove by and saw the V.I.P Motel sign boarded over.

“This is about the third time where all of a sudden we wake up one morning and find out there’s a group of homeless people that have been moved into these hotels, there’s another group moved into another hotel. In this particular case we didn’t even find out about it until they were already moved in,” said Mayne.

The shelter has been told to apply for a variance to the zoning, which Mayor Mayne says council may not end up approving.

“Council has to make the decision on this,” said Mayne.

Morris questions why that has to happen when there is already a solution.

“Why does this need to happen? We have a solution here,” said Morris.

According to Mayor Mayne, residents would not be expected to vacate before Christmas, if it comes to that.

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Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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