Peace Portal Alliance Church, at the corner of King George Boulevard and 152 Street, provides a night-time extreme-weather shelter for South Surrey, but White Rock balked at providing a counterprt day-time shelter. (File photo)

Peace Portal Alliance Church, at the corner of King George Boulevard and 152 Street, provides a night-time extreme-weather shelter for South Surrey, but White Rock balked at providing a counterprt day-time shelter. (File photo)

White Rock nixes warming shelter for this season

City staff and Surrey staff to study all homeless needs

Faced by a diminishing timeline and a potential for ballooning costs, White Rock council has rejected pitching a temporary tent to serve as a daytime warming shelter for Semiahmoo Peninsula homeless.

In its place it has endorsed a longer-term approach – suggested by recreation and culture director Eric Stepura and moved by Coun. Anthony Manning – in which city staff would join with representatives of the City of Surrey and other stakeholders to “address the needs of at-risk and vulnerable people living in White Rock and South Surrey, including those who are food insecure and homeless.”

Cheryl Lightowlers and Kathy Booth had appeared before council on Feb. 8 to plead for the establishment of a daytime warming shelter in White Rock to augment the night-time cold-weather shelter being provided at Peace Portal Alliance Church.

READ MORE: 14 beds planned for South Surrey extreme-weather shelter

At that time, council supported Manning’s motion to refer the matter to staff for a report on options for providing a daytime warming centre for 25 to 30 people.

But in a verbal report to council at March 8’s virtual meeting, Stepura said that the lack of available city facilities, the unsuitability of commercial property and the cost of hiring trained staff – which he strongly recommended – were all obstacles. The only potential solution for providing a warming shelter immediately, he said, would be to use $10,000 from the city’s COVID-19 Restart Grant budget to rent and install a tent in the parking lot at Centennial Park until April 15.

A motion from Coun. Scott Kristjanson to do just that was not seconded; instead, the remainder of council supported Manning’s motion.

“The need to help homeless and at-risk individuals goes far beyond just the warming shelter – it’s a year-round issue and it’s becoming more and more endemic,” Manning said. “The only thing that makes sense is going for the longer-term solution.”

“Our timing is very poor for this year,” Coun. David Chesney commented. “But it’s incredible for next year. As much as some in our community may want to see (this), up and running, Peace Portal Alliance, barring any major change, will be closing at the end of March. If we’re going to parallel them, running (it) to the middle of April doesn’t make any sense.”

Chesney also noted that in Stepura’s report, White Rock RCMP had provided a guesstimate that at any one time there are only zero to three homeless people on city streets.

“That’s three too many, but with that said, (taking the longer approach) is the best way for us to deal with this,” he said.

“Let’s just not put this on the backburner and forget about it. I hope our staff and City of Surrey staff can begin to work on this immediately, so we do have a solution by the time the weather gets cold again next year.”



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of White Rockhomeless housing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey Police Service to begin public consultation late June, early July

Community input, chief constable says, ‘will occur’

Surrey RCMP reunited three stolen puppies with their mom. (RCMP handout)
Puppies stolen from South Surrey home located, reunited with mom

Surrey RCMP said they found the stolen puppies on April 16

Welcome to your park sign marks the spot where 84th Avenue will continue east from King George Boulevard 
to 140th Street as part of a $13 million road project. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Road Rage: Opposition mounts anew to Surrey’s plan for 84 Ave. at south end of Bear Creek Park

Same place, same project, same fight as Surrey prepares once again to connect 84th Avenue between King George and 140th Street in Newton

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read