WATCH: After a controversial and expensive tent city was shut down last month, Saanich put forward a piece of property for the province’s modular housing program: a site near the fire hall. The project had the potential to house 40 to 50 people fairly quickly, but after surveying the land, BC Housing has turned the proposal down.
The provincial government has rejected the District of Saanich’s offer of land near the municipal hall in exchange for modular housing.
According to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the land has been assessed and has been deemed not suitable for development, nor feasible for modular housing. The land was just north of Saanich Fire Hall #1 on Vernon Avenue.
“Due to the steep slope of the property, construction and placement of the modular units would require significant engineering and construction,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry also said that given the District of Saanich’s commitment to identifying land for modular housing, they will continue working with district staff to find suitable alternate land.
Saanich had offered BC Housing access to the land in September, the same month the tent city at Regina Park was shut down following a BC Supreme Court order. Some residents of that tent city went to provincially owned-land near Highway 17 but were removed after less than a week.
Part of the group then spent two weeks at Goldstream Provincial Park before they were told to leave.
They were invited by Saanich mayoral candidate David Shebib to set up their tents on a property his son was renting. They are expected to be out by Oct. 12.
Access to overnight sheltering, with some restrictions, is still available in more than 100 Saanich parks from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m.
A hygiene station and storage facility remains open for people seeking overnight shelters. These were set up at the municipal hall in July.