Aerial shot of Vanderhoof, B.C. (Aman Parhar/ Omineca Express)

Aerial shot of Vanderhoof, B.C. (Aman Parhar/ Omineca Express)

Various housing initiatives underway in Vanderhoof

Two different groups lobbying for different housing opportunities in the community

With the housing crisis affecting most of the province of B.C., there are multiple conversations happening in Vanderhoof to address the issue on a local level.

On one end, we have an advocacy group led by Veronika Zwick, a resident of Vanderhoof who started the petition for a homeless shelter in the community.

And on the other side, we have a housing investment cooperative being formed in the District. Conversations are being led by business owners and managers like Graham Stanley, general manager for Community Futures Stuart-Nechako; Rex Millard, owner of Ace Hardware; John Aldersliesten; Dean Scott, owner of Scott’s Grille and Pizzeria; Jeff Boon, owner of Boon Bros. Construction Ltd; Keagan Leigh, owner of K.Leigh Precision Earthworks Ltd., and many others.

Homeless Shelter

Veronika Zwick received a total of 418 signatures towards her petition for a homeless shelter in the community. The petition was open for 43 days, with 312 people signing it online and 106 in-person signatures. Zwick submitted the petition to Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen on March 3.

READ MORE: Ongoing petition for an accessible homeless shelter in Vanderhoof

“Since the middle of January I have been exploring the need for a shelter in Vanderhoof. I have talked to many organizations, gotten feedback from residents, circulated the petition, and gathered like-minded people who want to find a solution to this issue,” she wrote in her letter.

“I hope that you will understand that there is a need for a shelter, however temporary it may be. We need a safe place for individuals to sleep, and to connect them with the resources they may need to help overcome the adversities they face in their day-to-day lives.”

Zwick further said council will received a ‘letter of support draft’ for this initiative. “It will be up to Mayor and Council if they would like to support this initiative in Vanderhoof.”

Meanwhile on March 4, Zwick hosted a VHF Homeless Shelter Collab meeting, virtually via Zoom. Coun. Ken Young, Coun. Kevin Murphy, Coun. and Mayor Gerry Thiessen, were at the meeting including multiple other social workers, residents and business owners invested in the conversation.

During the collab meeting, the hostess engaged multiple stakeholders including Salvation Army on the topic of a shelter and the solutions that can come out of it. Corps officer Neil Wilkinson for Salvation Army in Vanderhoof, based out of Prince George offered a solution that could entail a trailer put on district land, which would be more cost efficient as well as convenient for the time being, he said. On the other hand, Wilkinson also said he would like Zwick and other stakeholders to take into consideration that having a homeless shelter is not a long term solution. “If you build it, they will come,” he said.

Mayor Gerry Thiessen said he along with council are looking for a solution and are first trying to ascertain what the problems are.

READ MORE: Group of 20 actively want to deal with the housing crisis in Vanderhoof

Vanderhoof Investment Cooperative

Vanderhoof Investment Cooperative is a proposed community investment cooperative that aims to direct new, or pre-existing, investment capital from residents and businesses into local ventures with community impact, as stated in a Feb. 26 handout from officials.

The Investment Co-op is a for profit cooperative corporation which will be owned and governed by residents and businesses serving the District if Vanderhoof.

“The mission of the Investment Co-op is to promote the growth of Vanderhoof through increased housing development, the development and expansion of businesses and increased economic development in our community. The secondary mission of the investment co-op is to provide residents and businesses with a mechanism to invest directly into local projects that promote the growth and development of the community of Vanderhoof.”

The cooperative is still looking to expand their base and invite more business owners from the community looking to become members, to help create an advisory group that will assist the community investment cooperative to formulate positive and inclusive policies aimed at growing the district.

Currently, the group has a four step formula. Step 1 will include members of the investment co-op pooling their money together to promote housing development and create economic opportunities within district boundaries.

In their second step, the co-op will finance local ventures who demonstrate an ability for community impact and sustainable operations. This includes initiatives to increase the housing and economic development options within the district.

In step 3, they will assist eligible ventures with business development support, and if necessary, will advocate to other lenders to collaboratively finance these businesses. Lastly, the investment co-op in their fourth step will work closely with loan recipients to provide them with mentorship, promotion, and referrals to other ongoing business development services.

If you are interested in being part of Vanderhoof’s Investment Cooperative, send in your name to John Alderliesten at

Aman Parhar
Editor – Vanderhoof Omineca Express, Caledonia Courier

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

British ColumbiaHousing crisisnorthernbc

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. Toxic illicit drugs have claimed the lives of 498 British Columbians in the first three months of 2021, said the BC Coroners Service. (BCEHS photo)
Increase in overdose cases a concern: Fort St. James RCMP

Police issue public health announcement

Jim Woodruff from the Vanderhoof Curling Club has won volunteer of the year by Curl BC. (Photo submitted)
Jim Woodruff awarded Curl BC Volunteer of the Year

“It really is fun making nice ice.”

A groundbreaking ceremony for Cluculz Lake’s new fire hall will take place Tuesday, June 22. The current fire hall is able to only store one apparatus. (Photo submitted)
New fire hall on the way for Cluculz Lake

Approximate $950,000 facility anticipated to be completed by this fall

A cell tower is pictured in rural Ontario on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Connected future for Saik’uz First Nation

Cellular tower to be constructed by Telus within the community

Nechako River. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
So far so good, but officials keeping tabs on Nechako River streamflow

Vanderhoof Mayor said typically if there is flooding, it occurs toward the end of May and early June

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)
Money running out for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in B.C. schools

‘Looking at ways to support this type of program,’ minister says

Most Read