The Victoria Cool Aid Society is facing critics in two different neighbourhoods over plans to increase supported housing to ease homelessness in the city.

Organizations and individuals in Victoria's Burnside Gorge neighbourhood are raising concerns about problems with crime and disruptive behaviour outside its existing Rock Bay Landing shelter on the edge of a residential neigbourhood. 

Meanwhile, Cool Aid faced a mix of supporters and critics at a public meeting Thursday that ended with approval for rezoning to increase capacity in its redevelopment of a former seniors facility in Fairfield, Mount Edward Court.

A group calling itself "Residents and businesses of Lower Burnside Gorge" published an ad in the  Victoria Times Colonist newspaper calling on B.C. Premier John Horgan to stop what it called "flawed housing developments."

The ad claimed the push to expand housing for the homeless has "bulldozed the needs of residents."

Meanwhile, last week the Burnside Gorge Community Association sent a letter to the province, asking for a moratorium on shelters and supportive housing units in the neighbourhood. That includes a proposed supported housing project by the Cool Aid Society in the former Tally Ho Motel on Douglas Street and another shelter proposal at the former Super 8 Motel, also on Douglas Street, operated by PHS. 

Avery Stetski, the chair of the Burnside Gorge Community Association, said the concentration of emergency shelters and supportive housing in the area has forced several young families to move away.

Stetski said they were fed up with enduring abusive language, their yards filled with discarded needles, public defecation and urination and crime.

No control over activities outside shelter doors

"They just congregate in the neighbourhood and that's the problem," he told All Points West host Jason D'Souza.

The association's letter asking the B.C. government for the moratorium said the neighbourhood is home to seven per cent of the city's residents but 77 per cent of its shelter beds and 36 per cent of its supported housing units. 

Stetski said the Rock Bay Landing shelter is very well run, but there is no control over what the homeless users of the shelter do outside its doors.

"There's nothing police can do," he added.

Stetski said the MLA for the neighbourhood, Rob Fleming, is helping to arrange meetings with agencies, and they are getting support from Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Coun. Geoff Young. 

Kathy Stinson told On the Island host Gregor Craigie she understands concerns about the Rock Bay shelter.

Neighbours have 'taken the brunt'

"Their neighbourhood has taken the brunt," Stinson said.

The neighbourhood has many buildings, including former motels and commercial buildings, that can be converted to housing,  

"We have to take advantage of existing buildings right now in order to meet the need," she said.

The ad claimed the push to expand housing for the homeless has "bulldozed the needs of residents."

Meanwhile, last week the Burnside Gorge Community Association sent a letter to the province, asking for a moratorium on shelters and supportive housing units in the neighbourhood.

That includes a proposed supported housing project by the Cool Aid Society in the former Tally Ho Motel on Douglas Street and another shelter proposal at the former Super 8 Motel, also on Douglas Street, operated by PHS. 

However, Stinson said the proposed shelter in the former Super 8 Motel should be operated differently than Rock Bay to prevent further impact on the neighbourhood.

With files from On the Island and All Points West.