Resident response – Neighbour will move but still concerned about rezoning on Second Avenue

The Fort St. James neighbour who lives across the street from a proposed women’s shelter remains concerned for their property.

The neighbour who lives across the street from a proposed women’s shelter remains concerned for their property, but will be moving.

Nadine Hoy and her husband own the home across the street from the large home purchased by Fireweed Collective Society.

Fireweed would like to have the property rezoned in order to allow the house at 241 Second Avenue West to become th location of their women’s shelter, but was turned down in their rezoning application to the Fort St. James District and Council.

Since then, Fireweed has indicated they will be reapplying for rezoning of the property and is currently circulating a petition in support of the move.

Nadine Hoy, for her part, feels the petition being signed by people who won’t have to live next door to the shelter makes her feel uncomfortable, and she wants the community to understand where she’s coming from.

“It just seems like the whole town is for it and I feel like we’re drowning in this mess,” she said. “Nobody in Fort St. James has a problem with it, because there’s only a minimal amount of people that live here … to me, it’s unfair to say that these people on this street don’t count.”

While she an her husband have purchased a new home on Necoslie Road to move out of the municipality so they can get away from these types of issues, they will continue to rent out the home on Second Avenue.

“The renters should have a say too, because it’s their home, it’s where they live,” she said.

With Second Avenue already a busy street with foot traffic walking to and from the liquor store, and incidents like one where she watched a man stash a bag of needles under a nearby church, she worries the shelter will add traffic and an even more unhealthy element.

“I just think that there’s already so much going on on this street that we don’t need to add something else to it,” she said. Hoy said she worries if the Fireweed counselling services moved to Second Avenue, there would be even more people coming and going from the building. While Fireweed said they will be putting security and have 24-hour staff on the site at the shelter, her concern is people hanging around looking for a place to go may go to nearby homes instead.

“And we don’t have money to put up security cameras and security and stuff like that,” she said.

Hoy believes the shelter would decrease the value of their home on Second Avenue and will make it harder for her and her husband to find renters for the suites in the home.

Hoy hoped the council, instead of simply refusing the Fireweed rezoning request, would help the organization to find an alternate location.

“I just think that why can’t they build something somewhere that’s not going to effect people who are already there,” she said.

“I think that there is a need for a women’ shelter and I understand that the work that they’re doing is important, but I’m just thinking about my neighbours, and I’m thinking if I was living here right now I’d be really distraught if I wasn’t able to buy a house and move,” said Hoy.

Related stories:

Fireweed responds to rezoning defeat

Second Avenue rezoning defeated