Local Adam Olsen, here seen speaking in Legislative Assembly in February 2020, said the provincial government is losing the confidence of the community by failing to provide information about the proposed supportive housing project in Central Saanich. At the time, he signalled support for the project. (Hansard TV)

Local Adam Olsen, here seen speaking in Legislative Assembly in February 2020, said the provincial government is losing the confidence of the community by failing to provide information about the proposed supportive housing project in Central Saanich. At the time, he signalled support for the project. (Hansard TV)

MLA Adam Olsen and housing minister face off over Central Saanich housing project

David Eby says ministry is moving as quickly as it can to get into get people into supported housing

An exchange over a supportive housing project in Central Saanich saw local MLA Adam Olsen accuse the provincial housing minister of having lost the confidence of the community, while David Eby questioned Olsen’s tone in raising questions about the project.

The April 29 exchange (of which a draft transcript can be found here) between Olsen and Eby, who is also Attorney General, marks the perhaps most high profile discussion of plans by BC Housing to build supportive housing at 1909 Prosser Rd.

The project calls for 39 supportive units for what BC Housing describes as people at risk of homelessness in the Central Saanich region. While construction is underway, the project continues to draw protest (including one on Monday, May 3) from nearby residents, whose criticisms have in turn led to charges that they are stigmatizing vulnerable populations.

The question of who stands with whom in this debate also loomed large in the question period exchange between Olsen and Eby, which saw Olsen criticize the informational politics of the provincial government.

“For the last month, the fear and anxiety in the community has been increasing, and where information lacks, people are filling the gaps on their own,” said Olsen.

“Every day this government is losing ground, not just in the neighbourhood but also for the potential future residents of this project. This project was supposed to help marginalized people. Instead, the process has further stigmatized people who do not need more obstacles put in their way.”

RELATED: Central Saanich residents protest supportive housing project

RELATED: Residents petition against supportive housing project in Central Saanich

RELATED: Supportive housing proposed for Central Saanich promises to be a ‘good neighbour’

RELATED: Feds put $13.1 million toward 91 new affordable housing units in Saanich, Central Saanich

Eby acknowledged problems while also trying to push Olsen into the corner of critics.

“It doesn’t mean that there are never problems,” said Eby, responding to Olsen during their first back-and-forth. “It doesn’t mean we don’t have to work together to address them. But even before a single person (living in the facility) is identified, to talk about the impact? That’s not helpful.”

Olsen later asked Eby what his ministry would do to regain the confidence of the community and make new residents feel welcome while also signalling his support. “Of course these projects need to go in communities, and I support that,” said Olsen. “I support diversity. I support inclusion. The suggestion otherwise is ridiculous.”

Eby acknowledged key aspects of the project – including the actual contractor working for BC Housing –remain unknown with community engagement still unfolding. “The member (Olsen) wants all the information in advance. The information doesn’t exist yet. BC Housing is still building it,” said Eby, adding that the ministry is moving as quickly as it can to get into get people into supported housing. “I know that the member and I agree on this. That’s why I’m frustrated, in some respects, with the tone of his question and some of his suggestions, because we’re on the same page.”


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@

peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Hot rods, rad rods, muscle and sports cars spanning the decades made their way in a parade from North Saanich to Victoria on June 19. (Kiernan Green/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Classic cars cruise Saanich Peninsula in advance of Father’s Day

Retirement home residents from North Saanich to Victoria treated to a spectacle of hot rides

A bathtub kitchen garden is part of the lineup for this year’s Teeny Tiny Garden Tour to benefit Victoria Hospice. (Screenshot/Teeny Tiny Garden Tour)
Virtual garden tour for Victoria Hospice features trio of back yards

Online tour is free; calendar purchase and donation options raise money for the cause

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

Al Kohut, owner of the new photographers GALLERY, checks out Looking Back by David Bradt. The photo printed on canvas is among 50 images featured in the Birds on the Wild Side exhibition showing until July 3. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Photo gallery in Sidney plucks out top bird photos

Birds on the Wild Side show running at the new photographers GALLERY until July 3

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Most Read