North Cowichan Council Approves Womens Winter Shelter

(December 5, 2018, North Cowichan, BC) At its meeting today, North Cowichan Council heard from the public and decided to issue a temporary use permit for a womens winter warming shelter on property owned by the Cowichan Valley School District (SD79). 

The old concession building on SD79s property at 2003 University Way will be used by Cowichan Women Against Violence Society (CWAV) to operate a shelter to provide women with meals and a warm place to sleep. Under the permit, the shelter is allowed to open nightly between the hours of 5pm and 9am until March 31, 2019. The permit also includes conditions that require security measures and daily sweeps of the site to ensure that it is clean and safe. 

Decisions about shelters can be difficult, says Al Siebring, Mayor of North Cowichan. North Cowichan Council has demonstrated enormous resolve and supported this application wholeheartedly. Council also commends the Cowichan Valley School District for making its land available for this shelter. Supporting initiatives like this makes our communities stronger.

Were thrilled that the communitys support has finally come together to help provide a safe, warm place for local women to sleep this winter, says Melaina Patenaude, Community Impact Officer of United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island. Last year the Cowichan Coalition to Address Homelessness and Housing identified the dire need for the shelter, based on the homeless count data and feedback from United Ways partner agencies. From this, United Way initiated an emergency winter response action team that has worked diligently over the past 15 months to make this shelter a reality.

"Cowichan Women Against Violence Society is committed to working collaboratively with the Cowichan Valley community in finding solutions to challenging situations, says CWAV Executive Director Debbie Berg. This project will allow us to provide dignity to the vulnerable and safety to the community.  If you would like to help us with some donations, we will be open to receiving clean warm socks, mitts, scarves, hygiene products, personal items such as soap, small shampoos, toothbrushes, and toothpaste."

Now that the permit has been granted, CWAV will finalize fire safety upgrades to the building, hire shelter staff, and prepare the building with the goal opening on December 20. 



Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan

Debbie Berg, Executive Director
Cowichan Women Against Violence Society