A City of Campbell River bylaw amendment that regulates how social services are defined and where they can operate in the community will be the subject of a public hearing June 29.
Proposed changes to Zoning Bylaw Amendment No. 3861 are intended to address “complex societal challenges surrounding poverty, mental health and substance use that the city, alongside many other B.C. and Canadian municipalities, face,” a city press release says. On June 13, 2022, Council gave second reading to the bylaw and scheduled a Public Hearing for June 29.
If adopted, the bylaw would adjust how social services are defined and where they are permitted to operate in the community. Following direction from council, and considering public consultations and professional recommendations, a dispersed service delivery model that avoids a concentration of services downtown is proposed.
According to the city’s website, proposed amendments were prepared that look to ensure services remain accessible to those who need them while also avoiding concentration in the downtown, by supporting the establishment or relocation of social services to other zones. The proposal was developed based on public consultation, Council direction, a legal review and professional recommendations.
The model aligns with the growth and geography of the community and the need to have services offered throughout. Organizations looking to establish new “drop in” services related to food security, hygiene and substance use, or relocating existing services, would be directed to areas outside the downtown core. Areas under consideration include Willow Point, Campbelton, and other Village Centres. Existing services downtown would be able to stay where they are under a “grand-parent” clause. Any new operation would need to go where zoning permits.
Members of the community are invited to offer comments and feedback for council’s consideration at the public hearing at 6 p.m. on June 29. People can attend the hearing in person at City Hall, virtually, or provide written correspondence by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of time. Following the Public Hearing, council may choose to adopt, change, or defeat the bylaw.
“Tackling complex social issues, especially those facing Campbell River and communities across the country today, is never easy,” says Mayor Andy Adams. “Council hears and values the diverse voices of our community on how and where social services should be offered, and our decision incorporates those opinions while balancing them with professional recommendations. We look forward to hearing from the community at the public hearing.”
“The city has worked to ensure all voices and opinions have and continue to be heard and considered during the Zoning Bylaw Amendment process,” says Ron Neufeld, Deputy City Manager. “The dispersed service delivery model proposed looks to balance service accessibility, with concerns raised by business owners and residents.”
For more information on the proposed amendment and project history, visit www.campbellriver.ca/downtown.