Duncan City Council Vote On Temporary Emergency Women’s Shelter At 540 Cairnsmore Street – 17 September 2018

As you may be aware, Duncan City Council voted against a proposal for a temporary emergency women’s shelter at 540 Cairnsmore Street during the Regular Council meeting at Duncan City Hall on 17 September 2018.

As I campaign door to door for Duncan City Council, one of the questions I am most frequently asked is, “How would you have voted on the temporary Emergecy Women’s Shelter if you had been on Duncan City Council?”

540 Cairnsmore Street. This former school building was the proposed site of a temporary Emergency Women's Shelter until City of Duncan Council voted against that plan on 17 September 2018 (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca
540 Cairnsmore Street. This former school building was the proposed site of a temporary Emergency Women’s Shelter until City of Duncan Council voted against that plan on 17 September 2018 (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)

My answer is that I would have voted against the proposal, as the majority of Duncan City Council did on 17 September. My reasons are explained below, but first, some background information about this issue:

Here is the Cowichan Valley Citizen coverage of 18 September the proposal being voted down in Duncan City Council on 17 September 2018. Here is the Cowichan Valley Citizen coverage of 14 September 2018 about the proposal for a temporary Emergency Women’s Shelter.

Here is the Agenda for the Duncan Council meeting on 17 September 2018; the Minutes of the Duncan Council Meeting on 17 September 2018;

Here is video of the Duncan Council Meeting of 17 September 2018 at which the Emergency Shelter was discussed and voted on:

Now for my explanation of my position:

I completely understand the need for an Emergency Women’s Shelter. I spent my childhood in a home with an alcoholic father who had no hesitation in using his fists on my mother. So I have first hand experience with this issue and with the need for an Emergency Women’s Shelter.

But while there is a definite need for an Emergency Women’s Shelter in the Cowichan Valley, I think that 540 Cairnsmore Street is simply the wrong location for this kind of facility.

First, there is a day care on the adjacent property to the east. I do not believe that an Emergency Shelter should be located immediately adjacent to an established day care facility.

To illustrate the proximity of this day care facility to 540 Cairnsmore Street, here is a Google Street view image of 540 Cairnsmore Street and the adjacent daycare facility:

Here are two photos showing the proximity of the adjacent day care facility to 540 Cairnsmore Street.

540 Cairnsmore Street. This former school building was the proposed site of a temporary Emergency Women's Shelter until City of Duncan Council voted against that plan on 17 September 2018. This photo shows the proximity of a day care center in the adjacent building (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca
540 Cairnsmore Street. This former school building was the proposed site of a temporary Emergency Women’s Shelter until City of Duncan Council voted against that plan on 17 September 2018. This photo shows the proximity of a day care center in the adjacent building (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)
540 Cairnsmore Street. This former school building was the proposed site of a temporary Emergency Women's Shelter until City of Duncan Council voted against that plan on 17 September 2018. This photo shows the proximity of a day care center in the adjacent building (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca
540 Cairnsmore Street. This former school building was the proposed site of a temporary Emergency Women’s Shelter until City of Duncan Council voted against that plan on 17 September 2018. This photo shows the proximity of a day care center in the adjacent building (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)

Directly across Cairnsmore Street from 540 Cairnsmore Street is Duncan Elementary School and two buildings on the Duncan Elementary School grounds which are currently being used to deliver adult education programs. Duncan Elementary School is currently being used as School Board offices but the clientele for these adult education programs on the Duncan Elementary School grounds are often people with young children, who are typically sent to day care in the day care facility immediately adjacent to 540 Cairnsmore Street while their parents are attending adult education courses.

The people using these adult education programs are frequently people who are trying to get themselves out of difficult, often addiction related, situations and they need a safe environment and all the support they can get to accomplish their education courses and goals. i don’t believe we should be placing an Emergency Women’s Shelter in their midst given the high probability of the Emergency Women’s Shelter attracting people actively involved in the same issues and situations many of these adult education clients are actively trying to get themselves, and their families, out of.

Here are some photos of Duncan Elementary School and the adult education buildings on its grounds:

Duncan Elementary School is directly across Cairnsmore Street from 540 Cairnsmore Street, which was the proposed site of a temporary Emergency Women's Shelter until City of Duncan Council voted against that plan on 17 September 2018. (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca
Duncan Elementary School is directly across Cairnsmore Street from 540 Cairnsmore Street, which was the proposed site of a temporary Emergency Women’s Shelter until City of Duncan Council voted against that plan on 17 September 2018. (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)
his building on the Duncan Elementary School grounds is directly across Cairnsmore Street from 540 Cairnsmore Street, which was the proposed site of a temporary Emergency Women's Shelter until City of Duncan Council voted against that plan on 17 September 2018. This building is used for adult education programs. Many users of this facility have young children, as indicated by the playground adjacent to the building (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca
This building on the Duncan Elementary School grounds is directly across Cairnsmore Street from 540 Cairnsmore Street, which was the proposed site of a temporary Emergency Women’s Shelter until City of Duncan Council voted against that plan on 17 September 2018. This building is used for adult education programs. Many users of this facility have young children, as indicated by the playground adjacent to the building (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)

So while there is a definite need for an Emergency Women’s Shelter in the Cowichan Valley, this building at 540 Cairnsmore Street is simply the wrong location for it.

Perhaps a better solution would be for the City of Duncan, the Municipality of North Cowichan, Cowichan Tribes and the CVRD to work collaboratively on finding a location for an Emergency Women’s Shelter in the Cowichan Valley that all parties can live with.

If elected I will be advocating doing that as soon as possible.

Mark Anderson – 24 September 2018

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4 thoughts on “Duncan City Council Vote On Temporary Emergency Women’s Shelter At 540 Cairnsmore Street – 17 September 2018

  1. This is, in fact, happening, Mark. Well thought. North Cowichan has two sites they are considering plus I suggested another one, which was well received. However, it is likely nothing will happen until after the election. I hope that this can be resolved before the weather turns.

    1. I agree that this should be, and hopefully can be, resolved before cold weather sets in.

      I wasn’t aware that North Cowichan was already considering two alternative sites.

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