news release Whispers of Hope

Notice issued to Whispers of Hope and BETHS

City of Grand Forks issues notice of lease termination to Whispers of Hope Benevolence Society and Boundary Emergency and Transitional Housing Society

Grand Forks, BC – The City issued notice today for the soup kitchen, emergency shelter and thrift store to cease operations by Friday August 4th, 2017 at 5pm and to vacate the building within thirty days. This follows dozens of complaints from the public and thousands of dollars spent by the City in repairing vandalism in areas around the building. Some complainants expressed not feeling safe using the trail and park near the building. The soup kitchen’s clients are often camped out on the community trail that runs along the Granby River or on lands adjacent to the trail. Their actions are often considered to be a nuisance to the neighbouring and nearby properties. Despite being sympathetic to the mission of the two societies, Council believes that closing the premise will reduce the concentration of damage to public property, conflict, and concerns about public safety.

The topic of homelessness was prominently featured in the July 17, 2017 Committee of the Whole meeting where it was discussed at length in the context of the risk of wildfires or other damage caused by building and occupying temporary shelters. These shelters are currently prohibited within City limits and they have been repeatedly cleared by City staff or contractors when in place for more than a few days or weeks. Other concerns include drug paraphernalia like needles and their risk to public safety. Council agreed to start a task force to investigate solutions to improve homelessness and mental health. The City is open to any course of action that will keep public spaces safe and available for everyone to use.

Questions can be directed to City Hall at (250) 442-8266 or info@grandforks.ca .