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City looking at future options for Connect Centre

The City of Courtenay is looking at their options for the Connect Centre.

The centre, located on Cliffe Avenue, was first introduced back in the pandemic as a pilot test to help those without a home by keeping them warm and providing food and beverages. The centre also has outreach workers who help people get into the path of recovery and get them to the services they really need.

However, Courtenay mayor Bob Wells says from day one the centre’s location was always temporary.

“It was never considered a permanent location, it was really to do that pilot and within a few months we had gotten a strengthening communities grant from the province and it was going to move,” said Wells.

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“At the time the province was negotiating a lease into another location and that lease fell through.”

Wells says from that point onwards, they began pushing to the province that instead of leases, the province would buy land and make a purpose-built facility.

With the recent purchase of 925 Braidwood Avenue by the province, Wells says the project will have a significant impact.

“We have other locations that have opened, but this subsidized supportive housing is going to be 60 units,” said Wells.

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“We see these numbers really ramping up to try to address the number of homeless people we have, and we know there is always going to be this huge need and the province is doing its best to provide the housing it can.”

When it comes to the viability of the building once it’s not used as the connect centre, Wells says it will likely be demolished, but it would give the city an opportunity to do something else with the property.

He hopes the property will be used long-term as another opportunity for housing for those in need.

“When it comes to updates, we’re probably looking at three-month intervals where we will be meeting with BC Housing, doing that feedback loop of what we heard, what do we think is the best way forward. If anything important happens, we are going to make sure to communicate that to the community as soon as possible.”

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