Before the site is developed, the Oak Bay Lodge could become a temporary shelter space. The Capital Regional District has asked staff to explore options for the building, which will sit empty once residents are moved to The Summit at Quadra Village. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

CRD explores option to use Oak Bay Lodge for people who are homeless

Motion asks staff to work with BC Housing, Island Health on possibilities

The Capital Regional District (CRD) will explore using the Oak Bay Lodge as temporary housing for people who are homeless.

The facility currently operates as a senior centre but will soon sit empty when residents are moved to The Summit at Quadra Village, a seniors long-term care home replacing both the Lodge and Mt. Tolmie Hospital.

The move was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Island Health announced in March that The Summit could be used to alleviate hospitals if the virus filled them to capacity. That wasn’t necessary – but as the new building fills, an old one will sit vacant. In August, the CRD takes possession of the property.

On Wednesday, July 8 Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps brought a motion to the CRD to have staff work with BC Housing and Island Health and explore the possibility of using the Oak Bay Lodge as temporary housing for the region’s unhoused, or as a COVID-19 related hospital facility.

CRD Board Chair Colin Plant gives credit to Helps for suggesting the space.

READ ALSO: Seniors move to new, modern Victoria long-term care home starting in July

“We know these are such unprecedented times that require us to be more open-minded than ever,” he says. “This building was no longer going to meet the future needs for older adults, but in a pandemic maybe we can get a bit more life out of that building, so let’s have that conversation.”

Plant emphasizes that Wednesday’s decision was in favour of an exploratory motion – nothing has been decided.

“We want to ensure that anything that might happen at that site is going to be effective and work within the neighbourhood.”

Oak Mayor Kevin Murdoch, also a director on the CRD board, said whatever the decision is – it will be temporary. A comprehensive development approach, including community consultation, will determine future, permanent use of the land, he said.

“It is important to note, an empty property doesn’t suit the community well,” he said. “But we have to consider public safety and appropriate use of property…housing is one potential, there may be nothing.”

In an email, Island Health says both Oak Bay Lodge and Mt. Tolmie Hospital have infrastructure challenges that would create difficulties for supporting acute care.

“We are working with our communities and community partners on how to best support our population through the anticipated second wave.”

READ ALSO: Homeless will not be asked to take down tents during COVID-19 pandemic: Victoria Mayor


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
nina.grossman@blackpress.ca Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Homelesshomeless housingoak bayVictoria

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

Just Posted

Langford boy wakes up from surgery to find stuffed puppy wearing the same cast

Hospital staff outfitted ‘Eddy’ the puppy to match the young patient

VIDEO: Annual artist studio tour goes virtual on Saanich Peninsula

ArtSea converts popular event to online format with personalized artist videos

Local Flavour: Youth take the lead in Victoria’s Pollinator Leadership Team

Guest writer Thompson Hygge, summer intern with Pollinator Partnership Canada

Flyover at B.C. Leg to commemorate National Peacekeepers’ Day

August 9 marks biggest single day loss of Canadian lives from peace operations

UVic political scientist wants B.C. pulp mills to help produce masks, gowns

Claire Cutler says Canada needs to become self-sufficient when manufacturing PPE

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read