Site servicing and other preparation work is being done on Terminal Avenue where temporary supportive housing will be located. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo woman takes legal action against temporary supportive housing

Supportive housing on Terminal Avenue shouldn’t be exempt from city bylaws, lawsuit claims

A Nanaimo woman has taken legal action against proposed temporary supportive housing near the city’s downtown.

Janet Buechler has filed a notice of civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court accusing B.C. Housing of violating the City of Nanaimo’s zoning bylaws. The notice names as defendants Island Crisis Care Society, B.C. Housing Management Commission, the City of Nanaimo and the Provincial Rental Housing Corporation.

Last month the provincial government decided to purchase land at 250 Terminal Ave. so that B.C. Housing could provide 80 temporary modular housing for people living at Discontent City homeless camp. The units will be operated by Island Crisis Care Society.

The property at 250 Terminal is actually six separate parcels and are not all under the same zoning, according to court documents. A public hearing was not held for the property because provincial government has the authority to override the city’s rezoning bylaws on a temporary basis.

Buechler lives on property directly behind 250 Terminal Ave., court documents show.

According to court documents, Buechler claims Island Crisis Care Society is subject to the city’s rezoning bylaws even though the province purchased the property.

“The zoning bylaws of the City of Nanaimo are of general application unless a person is exempted from the application of the zoning bylaws,” the claim reads.

Buechler is requesting the courts declare the society be subject to the city’s zoning bylaws. Should the court rule in her favour, a public hearing for the property would be required.

B.C. Housing, in an e-mailed statement to the News Bulletin, said it is aware of the civil claim and that the matter has been referred to legal counsel. B.C. Housing added that the plan is for the Terminal Avenue property to become a permanent supportive housing site, which would be “subject to the municipal approvals process.”

Island Crisis Care Society could not be reached for comment.

RELATED: B.C. government providing temporary housing units to Nanaimo’s homeless

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