High turnout at public meeting on Salvation Army move
The Salvation Army has submitted a planning application to redevelop 333 Montreal Road, currently a Salvation Army thrift store.
Published Tuesday, July 11, 2017 4:54PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 11, 2017 4:58PM EDT
Hundreds of people turned up at a public information session in Vanier on Monday night for the first public meeting on the Salvation Army's proposed move from the ByWard Market to Montreal Road.
The session was so popular hundreds were turned away when the venue hit capacity.
Marie-Josée Houle was one of the many told to go home.
"Instead of people upset that they couldn't get in, they should feel really heartened that the community is stepping up, which I think is wonderful," she said.
The high turnout prompted Rideau-Vanier Councillor Mathieu Fleury to host a second meeting at the Knights of Columbus Club in Vanier, a larger venue. A third meeting is not out of the question, he said.
"I hope that people will feel better one way or another once they listen to the facts and feel that they have been heard," Houle said.
Councillor Fleury said he knows this is a hot button issue and wants time to hear from the public.
"They want to be part of the solution; they see this as an important investment in our city but we do not believe 333 Montreal Road is adequate. It goes against our ten year homelessness plan, the zoning doesn't contemplate it and keep in mind, it's on a BIA street."
Fleury said he has asked the Salvation Army to press pause on their zoning process for up to 60 days and to propose a list of alternate sites for the new building.
"The issues they identify here on George Street they are replicating in their model on Montreal Road," Fleury said. "We are asking them of them, and this is in line with city plans, to decentralize. So it wouldn't be one hub, but multiple hubs with different service points. "
The Salvation Army said the new multi-million dollar facility will act as a community hub for its clients, providing a number of different services in one spot. In addition to emergency beds, the new building will also have double the number of beds for supportive housing. The group also said this location is easily accessible to its clients.
But Vanier residents appear mixed on whether this new multi-million dollar build is right for the community.
"Vanier has so many more problems, is bringing more people in here solving the problem or should it become, maybe we who live here should move out," said Bob Pierce, a 30-year Vanier resident. "But then what happens? It becomes a ghetto, and nobody wants that."
Craig Flindall, also a Vanier resident, said he worries moving the Salvation Army's emergency shelter out of the ByWard Market will create more barriers for people seeking assistance.
"We already have three big shelters downtown," Flindall said. "It just would not make sense to move out of that because it's already a community itself and I think it would just displace a whole bunch of people."
Anyone seeking information or looking to voice their opinion can attend a public information session scheduled for Friday, July 14th at the Knights of Columbus Club in Vanier beginning at 5:30.