Of the 23 people who completed a feedback form, all of them indicated their support for the project. The following are a few of the comments we received.
“The plans seem well-thought out and thorough and I’m excited to witness the transformation that will take place in coming years.”
“This will be a wonderful addition to the community as well as long past due.”
“We hope this idea will spread to other communities in Canada.”
“This looks amazing. I’m so excited to see a project like this happening. I appreciate the holistic approach to the planning as well as collaboration happening between different organizations.”
“Not only are the plans clearly laid out, they are very compelling in terms of the vision for building community and encouraging smooth transitions for refugees. I love it and am looking forward to being neighbours with you and all those whom you hope to welcome to Canada.”
On the other hand, some of the concerns raised from the images on the display boards included – “not enough green/outdoor space”, “the design of the building (how it looks) may not be appropriate for the neighbourhood”, “impact of construction including noise” and “200 beds is a lot” . There was also a concern raised by a local resident how the building might impact her view of the mountains.
Overall, the Open House served its main purpose of testing the water on our vision and plans.
About the Author: Chris Friesen has been the ISSofBC Director of Settlement Services for over twenty years. He is currently leading the multi-year initiative to design and build a Metro Vancouver Regional Service Centre for Refugees. In spring 2016, this 58,000sf facility will become the first of its kind in the world, bringing together a variety of community and government services and organizations to meet the immediate needs of refugees and immigrants settling in BC. Learn more about the new Welcome House.