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“Their lives are being torn apart because the NDP bought an old motel, moved a bunch of people in, and have provided no support or guidance whatsoever for those people,” he said.
“They spill onto the streets, there’s open drug use, there are people leaving needles in the back alley, there’s open defecation on the street. This is not good enough. We as a society have to address these things and not just say, ‘Oh there’s nothing that can be done.’ We have to address the complex problem of homelessness, we have to address the complex problems of addiction. And I think there’s a better way to do it.”
In Victoria on Wednesday, Wilkinson met with Clif Leir, owner of Fol Epi Bakery, who recently invested in a new restaurant at the Paul’s Diner location in the Paul’s Motor Inn in downtown Victoria. But the B.C. government purchased the hotel during the pandemic, and converted into shelter for the homeless, pulling the rug out from under Leir’s plans without any notice or compensation, he said.
“We took it over last summer, put $150,000 in, got things back online, and shortly after COVID-19, B.C. Housing bought the building and said it would be a permanent change. We’ve been fighting with them to get some sort of compensation, because we feel having a homeless shelter adjoined to the restaurant — it’s already super hard running a restaurant at this point of time and that’s another barrier,” he said.
“It’s tomorrow now to settle for getting $60,000 or they will make us now responsible for the rent we should have been paying since April when COVID broke out.”