Syrian refugees: Vancouver Park Board to consider opening caretaker cottages
Park Board Commissioner Catherine Evans to present motion asking staff to look into idea
Park Board Commissioner Catherine Evans says three caretaker cottages across the city should be opened up to Syrian refugees set to arrive in B.C. in the coming weeks.
"One of the greatest needs is housing," she said as she prepares to table a motion on Dec. 14 that would ask Park Board staff to study the feasibility of opening caretaker cottages up to refugees.
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There are 71 of the buildings in park spaces across the city, the majority are being used by artists or sports groups.
But Evans says at least three of them have basic amenities such as a shower, toilet and stove to appropriately house a couple or small family.
"I would hope that all of my colleagues would be supportive. We all need to step up and do what we can to assist the refugee families that are coming," said Evans.
The idea came to Evans after a group of Vancouver churches began discussing how to privately sponsor Syrian refugees with the toughest issue being how to provide housing in Vancouver's difficult market.
"Because it is so hard, so hard to find accommodation in Vancouver," said Evans.
While Evans expects the idea to be debated by other commissioners, she envisions the cottages being used for up to a year by refugees, while the Park Board would partner with other agencies to provide necessities that the cottages require such as kitchen-ware.