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Contact Centre ready for rezoning

Artist
Artist's rendering of the new contact centre.
— image credit: SUBMITTED

The health contact centre proposal is ready to be introduced at city hall.

A rezoning application for the proposed new Chilliwack Health Contact Centre is expected to go on the agenda for next Tuesday's council meeting.

A property at Young Road and Hocking Avenue was purchased recently by BC Housing and the former Days Inn site will be renovated to create a unique facility to house the city's most at-risk homeless and addicted populations.

If the rezoning receives approval by city council for introduction and first reading on Feb. 15, a public hearing will be scheduled for March 1 to consider the rezoning from tourist commercial to a one-of-a-kind zoning designation, R9, for a Supportive Housing and Health Contact Centre Zone.

A multiple-stakeholder committee has been passionately lobbying governments, working out a business plan and setting up a viable operating structure for the contact centre for the past four years. Partners include the city, Fraser Health, BC Housing, Pacific Community Resource Society, and more.

Proponents don't expect the project to garner any opposition once all the facts and benefits of the proposed facility are fully understood by the community, said PCRS addiction services manager Lee Anne Hanson.

"The facility will be extremely well-monitored, with six-foot high fencing and a security gate," she said. "Residents will also be signing Good Neighbour agreements ensuring they will respect the neighbourhood."

A community-based advisory board for the contact centre will be established early on, she underlined, and local residents and business people will be encouraged to join the board to actively offer input and participate, as well as to volunteer at the facility.

"I want to assure anyone and everyone living near the proposed health contact centre that every effort will be made to ensure our residents understand exactly what the community needs and expects," she said.

The supportive housing project will fill a huge gap in Chilliwack in terms of non-market housing.

"We'll be asking everyone to keep in mind we're trying to solve some of the biggest social issues facing Chilliwack. We believe we have some leverage to improve lives with this, and surely that's better than having none at all," she said.

Denis Turco Architect Inc. of Vancouver was selected to design the proposed 2,500 square-foot addition and alterations of the old Days Inn building. The plan calls for 24 individual units of supportive housing, and another 10 spaces in five rooms for transitional housing, in group home format with shared common spaces.

"We were careful to ensure the building will have a good community feel and look," Hanson said.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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