Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oak Bay has no services for the homeless - and does not appear to contribute any assistance either

Jody Paterson made an interesting comment about a fellow who was banished from the City of Victoria by the court. He had to live in Oak Bay for 10 days, which was difficult as there was no access to food or shelter.

Oak Bay has no services or supports for the homeless. The Oak Bay police were perplexed, as they could not even take him to the drunk tank as they do not have one and use Victoria’s.

So what struck me about this was not the fact of the order being made, which is another issue. But May Causton's comment that “we do not have any services, referring to people like the fellow affected. So how is it that Oak Bay gets away with this? There is no question that some of its residents become homeless (sometimes youth who chose to do so). There is also no question that they use the services of other municipalities, for gas, transportation, work opportunities, shopping, entertainment and supplemental policing.

So how is it they do not contribute to homeless services? Now, I have not researched this and perhaps they will claim they do contribute to homeless services somehow. Being pessimistic, I doubt they do, or if they do, that they do so adequately. I would think that Mayor Causton, if Oak Bay did contribute, would have said, “the court is excluding this fellow from the services we provide, as we provide them downtown.”

The fact is that the homeless issue is regional and no mayor should ever say we do not services. Our “one” mayor should say the services we provide are in such a place and the court should not exclude people from those services.

If we are not going to have a regional city or two, then Oak Bay instead of clearly pushing the burden on its neigbours, should be helping the homeless as well. How can Victoria’s mandate to try and address homelessness ever be successful without the assistance of all of us? And if homelessness is an issue, which should be addressed, why would it have to be separately considered by each municipality?

Should not a unified city, if it thinks the issue should be addressed, do so, in an effective way, without the additional politics of trying to get the neighbours to buy in? Certainly at the first instance the counselors, representing their constituents in a unified city would debate the issue and decide if they would do anything. But once that is done then lets deal with it. Does that not make sense?


Anonymous said...

Oak Bay has always seemed to me to be what NIMBYism would look like if it could be city. They don't have any gas-stations in their little microcosm, they can just push out 'undesirable' amenities into other areas since they're so close by. Quite frankly, it would not surprise me if Oak Bay didn't try to restrict bus service in any way.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Oak Bay, it sucks.