Lake answers calls for refugee housing ideas

Officials with the Town of Lake Cowichan are willing to look into housing refugees on a temporary basis

Officials with the Town of Lake Cowichan are willing to look into housing refugees on a temporary basis if they’re plan is deemed fit to do so.

Mayor Ross Forrest responded to a blanket request from the Cowichan Housing Association through the Cowichan Intercultural Society that asked various groups to assess whether they have the capacity to house refugees and how it would affect their communities.

According to Joy Emmanuel of the Cowichan Housing Association, B.C. has been asked to consider bringing in 3,000 refugee families as part of the federal government’s commitment to bring over 25,000 by the end of February.

Forrest said he’d replied to the request but hasn’t heard anything back yet.

“I did respond… that we had some capability of housing, on a temporary basis, some at our education centre but we haven’t heard anything back from them yet,” he said.

The Cowichan Lake Education Centre is a place for groups to meet and stay for retreats and special events. The centre is capable of housing anywhere from 15 to 100 people at a time, but high demand means it could only be offered for short-term relief.

“We could house them maybe through a few of the winter months but then once things pick up at the education centre there wouldn’t be any room for them there,” Forrest explained.

He said he’s not sure if that type of set-up is what organizers are looking for.

It remains to be seen whether the centre and services in the area would even meet the requirements to house new families.

“We just said that we’re certainly open to it,” Forrest said. “It’s an exploratory stage that if the need was there that we’d be open to helping.”

Emmanuel said the Cowichan Housing Association was asked by the CIS to do a “very quick snapshot” of the community to gather information on capacity and willingness to be able to receive people, even knowing there are members of the community already in need.

With less than 24 hours to reply, she said she was inspired at the responses she received.

“A couple of people said, ‘You know, we really need to do both. We need to support and open our community to receive some of the refugee families but we also really need to take care of our own people that are here’ and I think that was the overall sentiment. It was inspiring.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Do you know someone who should not be driving?

We are currently living about 10 years longer than our ability to drive safely.

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: Time to slow down to speed up

In a society where we learn (are forced?) to multitask like crazy

A COVID-19 exposure has been reported at Shawnigan Lake School. (Citizen file photo)
UPDATED: Island Health reports COVID-19 exposure at Shawnigan Lake School

Shawnigan Lake School has been added to the list of schools in… Continue reading

Peas are great to grow in the garden, but a trellis for them in an A frame shape will offer more portability and wind resistance. (Citizen file)
Mary Lowther column: Making a foldable pea trellis on winter agenda

My previous methods required starting anew every spring

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson Column: Books open up a world of discovery

We try to eat dinner as a family every night. It happens… Continue reading

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Most Read