The permit cannot be officially approved until Nov. 9. (Eddie Huband photo/Lakes District News)

The permit cannot be officially approved until Nov. 9. (Eddie Huband photo/Lakes District News)

Village of Burns Lake council moves forward with temporary use permit

Burns Lake Motor Inn to be used as emergency shelter during winter months

The Village of Burns Lake council has moved forward with a temporary use permit application for the Burns Lake Motor Inn located at 149 Highway 16, so it can be used to shelter the homeless during the winter season.

The building is in the process of being turned into a permanent homeless shelter, in a project led by B.C. housing. However, the project remains in the early stages, and construction is not likely to begin until 2022.

The temporary use permit for the building is now in the processing faze, which means there is a time for public consultation before officially being approved. This means notices, signs and newspaper adds will be put out until Nov. 9 at the next council meeting, at which time the permit will be officially approved and the building can begin being used to shelter the homeless.

The proposed permit will allow the existing Motor Inn building to be used as an Emergency Weather Response Shelter from Nov. 10, 2021 to Apr. 30, 2022.

A discussion was had about frustrations with the time frame of the permit, especially from councillor Charlie Rensby who urged council to expedite the process so that homeless individuals wont have to wait in the cold weather.

“Why is it that we as village council and the mayor don’t have the power to turn the building into a weather shelter right away, and call it an emergency situation and just get it done? Why does this need to go through a bureaucratic process when there are people’s lives on the line? It’s already cold out we don’t have time to wait,” Rensby said during the discussion.

Ultimately, he was told that the reason for the process is due to how the current zoning bylaw regulations for the village are written and it’s something that would have to be changed in municipal legislation, so unfortunately, nothing can be done to speed up the process by council.

The decision by council to move forward with the permit comes on the heels of a homeless man passing away in Burns Lake in mid-October.

READ MORE: Fatality of homeless man in Burns Lake

READ MORE: Motor Inn homeless shelter project in early stages

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Eddie Huband
Multimedia Reporter
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