News / Vancouver

Lawsuit to halt homeless housing in Marpole dismissed

One group of residents feared the project could bring discarded needles and violence to their neighbourhood.

Signs from a Nov. 6, 2017 protest against housing for homeless people at 59th Ave. and Heather St. in Vancouver's Marpole neighbourhood.

Jen St. Denis / Metro

Signs from a Nov. 6, 2017 protest against housing for homeless people at 59th Ave. and Heather St. in Vancouver's Marpole neighbourhood.

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by some residents of Vancouver’s Marpole neighbourhood that sought to halt the construction of a housing complex for homeless people.
 
The court petition filed by a group calling itself the “Caring Citizens of Vancouver” argued the city had unlawfully granted a development permit to build the 78-unit modular housing building.

But the judge ruled that the city had done enough to providesufficient notice of a public hearing about the project and had not “unduly fettered” the discretion of the head of the director of planning, Gil Kelley, in issuing the permit.
 
The judge also said that the city’s decision to issue the development permit to the city-run Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency rather than refer the matter to the development permit board “was not unreasonable.”
 
The 78-unit project, which is now under construction in a corner of the Pearson Dogwood site at Heather and 59th Ave., has been controversial since the city first announced it in October.
 
Residents and parents of children who attend two nearby schools protested the project, warning of discarded needles and saying they feared their new neighbours might be violent.
 
But other residents have rallied to support the project, saying this kind of housing is urgently needed in Vancouver, including in their south Vancouver neighbourhood.
 
The first building in the project should be complete within three weeks, according to the city, and ready to house 39 people.

The provincial government has committed $291 million to construct and operate modular housing across the province, with 600 units earmarked for Vancouver.

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