Courtenay Responds with Temporary Emergency Shelter Option Following Travelodge Fire

October 21, 2021

City of Courtenay Council has approved an option for temporary emergency shelter in response to an overnight fire on Tuesday October 19 at the Travelodge Courtenay Hotel at 2605 Cliffe Avenue that displaced approximately 30 residents.

To support the response by provincial authorities, emergency authorization was granted by Council on Tuesday morning for the use of the Connect Warming Centre at 685 Cliffe Avenue as temporary overnight accommodations for up to ten (10) displaced hotel residents while BC Housing determines a longer-term solution. Additional measures may be activated by City staff to support the emerging needs of displaced residents, the province, and other service providers responding to this event.

“Above all we are thankful there do not appear to have been more serious injuries or any loss of life as a result of this fire,” said Courtenay Chief Administrative Officer Geoff Garbutt. “The temporary measures approved by Council will provide additional options to support those agencies involved in the emergency response, and flexibility as the situation evolves. We’re grateful to all first responders and agencies who attended the fire and provided immediate support to residents. The City will continue carefully monitoring the situation and will implement further actions as needed.”

The overnight response included the Courtenay Fire Department, Comox Fire Rescue, BC Ambulance, the Comox Valley RCMP, Comox Valley Transition Society, and Emergency Support Services through the Comox Valley Emergency Management Program.

“On behalf of the Province and BC Housing, I want to extend sincere thanks to the Courtenay Council for their urgent work to open these shelter spaces to accommodate those displaced by the fire at the Travelodge,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “I’m in close contact with the Housing Ministry, and BC Housing and its partners are working together to assess the damage and find long-term solutions for those affected as quickly as possible.”

Exemptions for emergency shelter services are an allowed use under Council’s authority through the BC Building Code. The exemption will remain in effect until alternative accommodations are found, or until November 2, 2021, whichever comes first. This emergency exemption is in addition to approval previously granted by Council at the October 18, 2021 regular Council meeting for the Connect Warming Centre to serve as an Extreme Weather Response shelter funded by BC Housing through March 31, 2022.

The Connect Warming Centre at 685 Cliffe Avenue is a city-owned facility leased to the Comox Valley Transition Society who provide services in partnership with the Coalition to End Homelessness. The facility offers support and resources for individuals experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness.