Shipping-container homes get preliminary approval for Victoria's Royal Athletic Park
VICTORIA -- The tents in the parking lot of Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park are one step closer to being replaced by a village of shipping containers.
Victoria city council voted Thursday to approve a temporary-use permit to allow Aryze Developments to build up to 30 tiny homes created out of shipping containers on the site.
The cost of the project is estimated at $500,000 and will be raised through donations.
“It’s great that it was a unanimous decision,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said of Thursday’s vote.
“I feel proud of the community. I think more than a quarter of a million dollars has been raised for that project, so it’s literally people in our community creating homes for people in our community.”
Luke Mari, one of the partners at Aryze, says he’s thrilled by the news.
“We’ve been working on this project for months and months, and this is a critical first step in the approval process to get this community off the ground,” Mari said Thursday.
At last count, there were 191 tents sheltering homeless people in Victoria.
City council has said it will to change its amended bylaws and stop allowing round-the-clock camping in city parks if temporary homes are found by the end of March.
B.C. Attorney General and Housing Minister David Eby said Thursday the province is looking at buying another hotel or motel to shelter some of the people living in Victoria parks.
Eby said the hotel would not be in the Burnside-Gorge neighbourhood and may be outside of Victoria.
Eby said the province was in negotiations to use the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre again as a shelter, potentially housing up to 50 people on a temporary basis.
“We’re currently working on things like negotiating with the operator,” Eby said. “Whatever we can do to hit that goal (of sheltering Victoria’s homeless by March 31) is a priority for us.”
Aryze says if the final permit is approved, building can begin early next month.