This GoFundMe page is raising money to pay a legal team to fight the proposed supportive housing project for 222 Corfield St. South. — Screen shot

Group raising money to stop Parksville supportive housing project

GoFundMe page has $15K for lawyer fees raised since July 8

A group is asking for monetary donations to fight a controversial proposed supportive housing project in Parksville.

A GoFundMe page opened Sunday, July 8 called ‘No To 222,’ and asks for $50,000 in total donations to pay for legal fees racked up to “win our case” against the supportive housing project.

“Good Citizens of Parksville, You have spoken loud and clear against the proposed supportive housing at 222 Corfield. Unfortunately, the mayor and the majority of council members have refused to listen. Our only option now is to retain the best legal counsel we can, and that’s what our core group which has been working on your behalf all along has done,” begins the description on the fundraising page.

The description goes on to say that this “core group,” which is apparently responsible for the www.parksvillecares.com website, has already retained counsel and given an undisclosed amount of money towards legal fees, in addition to other expenses relating to the group’s opposition of the project (printing, postage, the website, etc.). “It’s simply not possible for us to do this alone any longer if we want to fight this,” reads the description.

The page does not say how the legal team is looking to fight the supportive housing project.

As of the morning of Wednesday, July 18, the GoFundMe page had reached $15,204 of its $50,000 goal.

The organizer of the GoFundMe page, Melanie Van Der Stock, declined to be interviewed about the fundraising effort.

RELATED: Parksville council adopts rezoning for 222 Corfield

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The largest donor to the fundraiser so far is Ron Chiovetti, owner of Isle Golf Cars and several other area businesses, who gave $5,000.

Though a resident of Nanoose Bay, Chiovetti said, as a local businessman, “I have a vested interest to keep Parksville safe, and I think we need to do the right thing.”

He said, rather than a supportive housing facility such as this one, an affordable housing facility should be created at the Corfield location, and a rehabilitation centre for those with drug and alcohol problems at a location away from downtown and near the health centre.

“I just don’t believe that we need this type of shelter that will allow free use of drugs and alcohol… Yes, we need to help the homeless, yes we need to create affordable housing, but the use of drugs and alcohol is absolutely a non-starter for me,” he said.

The Island Crisis Care Society, which has been contracted by BC Housing to staff the facility and provide full-time support, notes on its frequently asked questions page about the project that residents of the proposed supportive housing project could include those with drug addictions, and that “residents will make their own choices regarding lifestyle.”

“Substance use and mental health challenges will be addressed through case plans and referrals to Island Health and related services,” it says.

The GoFundMe page appears to equate stopping the 222 Corfield project with stopping illicit drug use in Parksville altogether, saying, “It’s our city, so let’s get the illicit drug use out of Parksville once and for all, and stop 222 Corfield from being built.”

The GoFundMe page can be seen here: www.gofundme.com/no-to-222.

For more info on the 222 Corfield project, go to www.islandcrisiscaresociety.ca/programs/222-corfield-street-south/.

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