After months of people asking if the Seabreeze Inne court case had been resolved, the answer was revealed through an Aug. 21 court filing, as detailed in our Driftwood story last week.
We think it’s fair to say that the process leading to this point could not have been much rockier. It’s not that anyone would have expected such a transaction to proceed smoothly, but it certainly could have gone much better than it did.
When the initial notice to vacate was given to people living at the Seabreeze Inne in the fall of 2021, Lady Minto Hospital Foundation (LMHF) kindly extended the deadline, responding to public pressure about throwing people out on the street during the winter. But one incorrect assumption made was that people who have a comfortable-to-them place to live would willingly leave it in order to accommodate a “noble” use for that space — housing for hospital workers — especially a use that did not seem to be immediate. It’s another case of privileged people and institutions not understanding the challenges and reality faced by some disadvantaged individuals.
While apportioning blame publicly serves no purpose at this point, all institutional parties involved need to have a hard look at the decisions they made and actions they took. LMHF, the Provincial Rental Housing Corporation (AKA BC Housing) and Island Community Services all had a role to play in how things transpired.
Use of professional mediation services earlier in the dispute could have yielded the same result at a much earlier time and at a much reduced cost, both financially and in terms of personal stress for all involved.
Annual general meetings are coming up for both the LMHF and ICS. Boards of both bodies should make reporting out and accepting questions on the Seabreeze situation a part of those proceedings.
In the meantime, housing for hospital workers is still desperately needed. Community member Connie Gibbs has detailed the needs and how people can help in a submission this week. Please, if you can provide affordable housing of any duration as she describes, follow the instructions in her article and help make a much-valued contribution to your community.