By Wawmeesh G. Hamilton - Alberni Valley News
Published: March 21, 2013 6:00 PM
Updated: March 21, 2013 7:04 PM
The Port Alberni Shelter Society plans one more open house in the near future before roping everything together to submit to funding agencies, society spokesperson Myron Jespersen said. Between 120-150 people attended the last open house, held March 14 at the Best Western Barclay Hotel.
“This is another step in the process and I thought it went well,” Jespersen said. “The main point was to engage people and get more ideas and I felt we accomplished that.”The function was from 3-8 p.m. and attendance fluctuated, Jespersen said. “A lot of people came between 3-5 p.m., it died down at dinner time, then it picked up again between 7-8 p.m,” he said.
No one mood dominated among the people who attended, he said. “Some people came opposed and left that way, while others who were opposed left more favourable to the idea.” People were given the opportunity to ask questions and contribute ideas. There was a wide variety of questions with no one category tilting the balance, Jespersen said.
Officials received 37 responses, and ideas included better facility and neighbourhood lighting, as well as creating a community garden. “I think that’s doable because there will be vacant land on either side of the new facility,” he said. Input was also received in the society’s good neighbour agreement, the document that will guide how the parties will deal with issues that arise.
The issue is slowly advancing through the next stage, which will see the assembling of members of a good neighbour team that will meet regularly and work on issues when they arise. “We just need to identify interested neighbours who want to be part of this because there isn’t a neighbourhood association,” Jespersen said.
Input from the evening will be assembled into the facility’s final design by the end of the month. The final product will be submitted to BC Housing as part of a funding request package.