City to restrict ‘social care facilities’ to area adjacent to downtown

Campbell River is making moves to create an area designated for “social care facilities,” and has made an offer to purchase a property within that area on which to locate a sobering assessment facility.

City council recently gave first and second reading to a bylaw amendment which would – if adopted after public consultation later this month – allow their zoning bylaw to clearly differentiate between a “community care facility” and a “social care facility.”

The amendment would also prohibit social care facilities to be located outside a proposed area located near downtown between Ironwood Street and Dogwood Street, south of 13th Avenue and north of 10th Avenue.

According to a statement from the city released July 7, the city has made this decision in response to questions surrounding the Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by Island Health at the end of May looking for bids to create a fully staffed, six-bed, 24-hour-per-day, 365-days-per-year sobering assessment facility that would, “ensure clients can easily connect with additional outreach, substance use supports and other health, social and housing services when they are ready.”

“Careful consideration and consultation with service providers suggests that, in future, social care facilities would be most effective if they are focused in an area immediately adjacent to and within walking distance of downtown and other related services,” says city manager Deborah Sargent in the city’s release.

The city also announced in their release that it has also made a conditional offer to purchase a property within that zone to support the prospective sobering assessment centre, which it would then lease to the successful proponent of the Island Health RFP.

“The potential property purchase would provide a building with approximately 2,650 square feet of operating space,” the release says. “The tenant would be responsible for all additional costs associated with the facility including property taxes, utilities and required modifications (valued at approximately $60,000) to install showering and laundry facilities as well as a sprinkler system for fire protection.”

Sargent says that the lease should pay off the city’s purchase of the land in about 15 years based on current market value.

Island Health will now extend their deadline on the RFP for the sobering assessment centre in Campbell River until July 26 to allow all proponents to incorporate this information into their proposals.

A public hearing will be held at city hall at 6:30 p.m. on July 25 to provide the community with the opportunity to share any suggestions or concerns with council regarding the bylaw amendment and location of future social care facilities before the bylaw can be adopted.