BC Housing Fires Back Victory Church Trial | New

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Forcing provincial agencies like BC Housing to comply with city zoning bylaws would hamper the ability of the higher government to provide services, the crown corporation says in response to a lawsuit filed by the City of Penticton over the location of the former Victory Church homeless shelter.

“In other words, although BC Housing tries to comply with municipal requirements to the extent possible, the execution of its mandate should not be subject to different regulatory requirements in different municipalities affecting its use or development. land, ”read the response from BC Housing, which was filed Sept. 14 in the BC Supreme Court.

“This is true whether the requirements of local regulations inadvertently or inadvertently (eg, motivated by local politics) affect BC Housing. “

The city’s lawsuit, which was filed on July 7, challenges the BC government’s invocation of paramountcy – a legal concept that allows the province to bypass municipalities on matters relating to its use. or land use planning – to maintain the former Victory Church Shelter 352 Winnipeg Street in contravention of the local zoning by-law.

The shelter initially got a temporary use permit from the city to operate without the proper zoning for last winter only, after which BC Housing said it intended to shut down the facility. But just weeks before the scheduled April 1 closing date, BC Housing applied for a new permit to keep the shelter open continuously for another year.

Based on concerns about the shelter’s impacts on its neighbors, council unanimously rejected this request in March, prompting the B.C. government to claim primacy and continue to run the facility. with 42 beds.

The city’s lawsuit argues that BC Housing cannot now claim that it is immune to the same municipal zoning by-law that it once followed.

But in a separate response filed on September 10, the attorney general says BC Housing only applied for the temporary use permit as a courtesy to the municipal government.

“Generally, it’s good public policy. But voluntary compliance does not waive Crown immunity, ”says the AG’s response.

“It would be perverse to say that when a provincial government agency cooperates with a local government and complies with its demands, it definitely loses its immunity. The only possible effect would be to minimize cooperation.

The city’s second main argument suggests that the BC government is not using or occupying the land itself – it has instead contracted the Penticton and District Society for Community Living to manage the shelter – it cannot therefore not claim preponderance.

In response, BC Housing notes that the now expired temporary use permit was issued to BC Housing, “demonstrating that the city viewed BC Housing, and not PDSCL, as the user of the property.”

Additionally, BC Housing claims to be the “driving force” behind the shelter and simply uses PDSCL as its agent.

With both parties cut off, the case now appears to be headed to a courtroom.

“With the case in court, the city does not provide further comments regarding the action it took on July 7, 2021, when it filed a motion with the BC Supreme Court challenging the province’s decision to invoke “primacy” over the city’s zoning by-law. in a unilateral decision to operate a temporary winter shelter at 352 Winnipeg Street as a year-round facility, ”city spokesman Philip Cooper said in a statement Thursday.

“I can, however, recognize that the city was informed last week that BC Housing has now filed a response to the city’s July 7 petition, which city attorneys are currently reviewing pending court appearance in during the new year. “


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