January 22, 2024 - Minutes

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City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

Regular Council meeting for Public Hearings

Monday, January 22, 2024




Council Chambers
Richmond City Hall


Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie, Chair
Councillor Chak Au
Councillor Carol Day
Councillor Laura Gillanders
Councillor Kash Heed
Councillor Andy Hobbs
Councillor Alexa Loo
Councillor Bill McNulty
Councillor Michael Wolfe

Evangel Biason, Acting Corporate Officer

Call to Order:

Mayor Brodie opened the proceedings at 7:00 p.m.




(Location:  2520, 2540, 2560, 2580, 2600, 2640 Smith Street and 9031 Bridgeport Rd.; Applicant:  BC Housing)



Applicant’s Comments:



The applicant was available to respond to queries.



In response to queries from Council, Julie Roberts, Executive Director, Community Builders noted that (i) currently a caterer and a number of staff are supporting the meal program at the housing facility and in addition, Aster Place partners with the meal program A Loving Spoonful, should there be a disruption in food services, (ii) there are mental health staff on-site specifically trained to work with the residents, (iii) a number of residents have secured permanent housing, (iv) Community Builders can provide Council with a bi-annual report on Aster Place operations and other matters that may be of interest to Council, (v) in most cases mental health concerns are not reasons for eviction, and the operator works with the resident to provide support, (vi) evictions occur when there is a safety concern, and in these cases staff work with the resident to find new accommodation, (vii) there is a consumption site in the building monitored by staff where residents can use substances in a safe way, and (viii) the neighborhood has been provided a
24-hour contact to address any complaints regarding the housing facility.



Written Submissions:



Dr. Meena Dawar (Schedule 1)

Chris Chung (Schedule 2)



Submissions from the floor:



Tracey Hanford, Aster Place tenant, expressed her concerns with respect to the operations, management and food quality of the Aster Place facility.



In response to queries from Council regarding Aster Place operations, Ms. Hanford spoke about (i) the low quality food served to residents, (ii) the lack of qualified mental health workers at the facility, and (iii) the eviction process of tenants.



Rob, Aster Place tenant, expressed his concerns with regard to Aster Place operations, including concerns related to a lack of communication between tenants and management. He spoke in support of renewal of the temporary use permit, adding that the housing has been helpful for many people. 



David Garnett, resident, spoke about the operational issues at the facility and

shared his personal negative experiences with Aster Place operations.



It was moved and seconded



To renew the existing Temporary Use Permit for the three-storey temporary modular housing development with 40 residential units and vehicle access from Smith Street at 2520, 2540, 2560, 2580, 2600, 2640 Smith Street and 9031 Bridgeport Road.






As a result of the discussion the following motion was introduced:



It was moved and seconded



That the performance of Aster Place be evaluated and that staff prepare a report on the effectiveness of the operations of Aster Place Supportive Housing and report back as soon as possible, then review every six months.



The question on the motion was not called as discussion ensued with respect to (i) the number of evictions and the number of people transitioning through Aster Place into new forms of housing, (ii) the terms of the memorandum of understanding signed by BC Housing, City of Richmond and Community Builders, (iii) the need for a full investigation into the operations of the facility, (iv) the qualifications of the staff working at Aster Place, and
(v) making the necessary changes to improve facility operations.



The question on the motion was then called and CARRIED.







It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (7:54 p.m.).







Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the Regular meeting for Public Hearings of the City of Richmond held on Monday, January 22, 2024.




Mayor (Malcolm D. Brodie)


Acting Corporate Officer (Evangel Biason)