The rezoning required for Fireweed Safe Haven to move their women’s shelter from the Sitka Building on Stuart Drive to 341 Second Avenue passed unanimously.
The controversial rezoning drew a lot of discussion at the public hearing before the council meeting on Dec. 12, and some scolding by Mayor Rob MacDougall for Fireweed.
“This isn’t a precedent if it’s passed,” he said. “It fits this time.”
MacDougall was critical of Fireweed’s decision to purchase the property before it was rezoned to social services congregate care from residential zoning.
MacDougall said Fireweed’s decision to purchase the property before the rezoning decision put mayor and council in an awkward position.
While the public hearing heard from both opponents and supporters, councillors said the area was still the best suited one for the purpose of moving the shelter to a larger and more suitable building.
Mayor and Councillor Joan Burdeniuk both expressed a need for better planning on the part of the municipality for land uses like this to allow for growth and expansion in the community.
It was the second time Fireweed had applied for the rezoning, with the first application being defeated after the public hearing, with council expressing a desire to see the shelter stay where it was at the time.
Property owners across the street from 341 Second Avenue were opposed, but said the support the work the shelter does. The properties are rental units, and the property owners expressed concern their units would be less desirable with a shelter for women and children fleeing abuse across the street and worries traffic might be more of an issue.
Other community members, including a neighbourhood resident, came out in support of the rezoning.