Thursday, October 20, 2011

Supportive Housing Project Bungled ?

Ron Cantelon Adds Fuel To Fire

As if the Supportive Housing project firestorm wasn't already hot enough, local MLA Ron Cantelon is reported in the Daily News as saying the city had other options for low barrier housing projects.
Cantelon is reported as saying there were several other sites, the city could have chosen which may have been more acceptable to the community.

In Darrell Bellaart's article, Cantelon says there were undeveloped lots north of Boundary Ave., a property adjacent the city yard on Labieux Rd., the now closed Northfield Alternative School and a lot north of May Richards Bennett Pioneer Park.

While I support the low barrier housing concept, and am not opposed to allowing active addicts the opportunity to get off the street and turn their lives around, I have always wondered if the city could not have chosen locations that could have caused less community upset than the ones they chose. There also appears to be less than forthright tactics employed by those on city council and city staff tasked with providing locations for this type of housing.

The acceptance of this whole program is based on a trusting relationship between the residents and their elected and non-elected officials and the way this project has been mishandled could be the poster child, for how NOT to get a community to support a low barrier project.

On the one hand those in favour of the project say there is nothing to worry about with the placing of 40 active drug or alcohol dependent people in one facility in a residential area. Then on the other hand you have councilors trying to appease Uplands opponents that the residents may only be single moms with children. Hidden in that assurance is the acknowledgment that 40 active addicts would not be as acceptable as 40 single moms.

You also have people singing the praises of facilities in Victoria while ignoring the issues in Duncan raised by the RCMP Insp. who said they had 150 calls to Warmlands in a 12 month period.

Perhaps the biggest single fault in the whole process is the fact that the procedure outlined in the city's action plan was never followed. The fact that no one can actually say who will be housed in any of these projects just leads to more and more distrust with those responsible for managing this project. A general distrust in the assurances of politicians and public employees is a simple fact of our day and age, and that distrust seems to be amplified in the handling of this whole project.



  1. The CCN are currently getting confirmation from Provincial government officials to confirm that the $35 million from the Province will not be lost should the site change - another example of City Councillors not knowing the real facts.
    Someone at the City should have done the appropriate research - much criticism has been levied at the CCN and those who support the campaign as the Council have used the threat of the loss of the Provincial funds as an excuse to continue with the Uplands site.
    once we have written confirmation of this fact, the CCN will post the details for public review.
    A public meeting will be held on Friday 21 October at 7.30pm at the Oliver Woods Community Centre. Mayor and Councillors have been invited to attend although as yet only one has volunteered to appear.

  2. Council have backed themselves into a corner as a result of making a hasty, expediant and reckless decision to put this 40 unit facity next door to seniors and schools. They now want to get this pushd through at all costs and bring in the operator to clean up the mess, that is 'engage the community'. It's too bad we don't have more Parent Advisory Councils and Senior's Advocacy Groups making their concerns known to the School Board, Council and the Province. Maybe there's a reason for that?


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