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Cranbrook homeless shelter several months behind schedule


A building permit has been issued for the homeless shelter renovation in Cranbrook, however, the project has been delayed by several months and won’t be open until next year.

Staff with the City of Cranbrook confirm a building permit was recently issued, as a statement from BC Housing notes the crown corporation is hoping to open the 40-bed shelter by early 2025.

Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Price said necessary documentation from BC Housing as part of the building permit process was coming in at a piecemeal pace.

“Certainly, the city’s been trying to accommodate the process as best we can, but we’ve got legal obligations and constraints as well. You can’t let a project go forward until all the approvals are in place,” Price said.

“When we’re dealing with our developers and our contractors in town, they know all the steps and the obligations so they’re prepared for it and we typically get a full package. With this issue, there’s been pieces coming in at different times and it’s almost going piecemeal and from a legal perspective, we can’t operate like that.”

The effort to turn a portion of the Community Connections building at 209 16 Ave N into a functional homeless shelter has been an ongoing process for the last three years.

City council approved a land use zoning amendment in 2021 that would have allowed the site to be used as a homeless shelter — an application brought forward by the previous building’s owner.

However, the BC government bought the building a year ago, and with plans for a significant renovation project. At the time of the building’s purchase, the province indicated the shelter was aiming to be open by late 2023.

At the time, BC Housing also confirmed that temporary shelter operations will continue to be run out of the Travelodge until the new shelter is open.

Meanwhile, that means another fall and early winter season where the shelter won’t be open.

BC Housing says it funds Emergency Weather Response (EWR) shelters, which open overnight when a community issues an extreme weather alert.

The EWR shelters are community-led, and provide overnight, life-saving spaces and resources for people experiencing homelessness during extreme weather events.

During an extreme cold snap last January, an EWR shelter opened within Christ Church Anglican, in partnership with ANKORS, which provided operational services.

Other churches not affiliated with the EWR program, such as the Alliance Church, also opened to provide meals and an overnight place to stay.

“BC Housing has overnight shelter and EWR shelter funding available for shelter during the next winter season and is always willing to work with municipalities to help identify suitable sites or secure shelter providers,” reads the BC Housing statement. “More information about an emergency shelter for Cranbrook will be made public next fall.”

Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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