Gastown’s Storyeum building will not be used as a homeless shelter, it was decided yesterday. Instead, one-third of it will likely be used as a fitness centre and the remaining space is yet to be determined.
Vancouver councillors agreed that the Storyeum building is not the appropriate location for a shelter because there are already shelters nearby.
The debate intensified, however, when Vision Vancouver members added to the report a request to immediately open a number of 24-hour emergency shelters elsewhere, citing recent harsh weather conditions.
The Non-Partisan Association successfully voted to amend the request, insisting it could not be done immediately, the shelters could not be in city-owned buildings and they couldn’t operate at the city’s expense. NPA Coun. Suzanne Anton called Vision’s request "way too cavalier a way to make such a decision."
Vision Coun. Tim Stevenson criticized the NPA of "gutting" the request, saying a vote against it was "a vote against the people who have the least among us."