“People’s lives are on the line,” was one of the sentiments expressed during the first town council meeting of 2018.

The town of Smithers held a public hearing on the proposed modular housing complex at Queen and Railway.

Members of the public wanting to hear more about the public housing project were offered the opportunity to express concerns about the consultation process, implementation strategies and next steps.

A long time Smithers resident and neighbour of the proposed site, Blair Wind, says he came out to hear what others had to say.

“I tried to come to express legitimate concerns as a resident but I know the project is long overdue and my confidence is instilled in me after seeing the renderings and learning more from BC Housing yesterday.”

Mayor Taylor Bachrach says its great to see such public engagement.

“It’s obvious that people really care about this community and they had some thoughtful input on the project.”

Town Council amended its community plan last night designating the downtown area as the place where supportive housing fits best and rezoned the property at the corner of Queen and Railway Avenue.

The unanimous passing of the bylaws will allow the supportive housing project to move forward.

“The next steps are now in the hands of BC Housing and the operating partner; they are going to finalize the building design, apply for a development permit, and bring it back to council,” concluded Bachrach.

BC Housing is providing all the projects capital funding while the Smithers Community Services Association is responsible for managing the supportive services.