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Residents raise concerns about plan for Inuit women's shelter in Ottawa's south end

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Residents in Ottawa's Hunt Club neighbourhood are raising concerns about plans to build an Inuit women's shelter in the south end neighbourhood.

The proposal would see city-owned land at 250 Forestglade Crescent sold to the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition, which hopes to build a 30-bed supportive housing facility for women and children only.

"Ottawa has the largest Inuit population south of Nunavut and there is a growing need to have a dedicated shelter for Inuit women who are affected by domestic violence," Jessica Bradley, Gloucester-Southgate councillor, said. "I am supportive and Hunt Club Park has a tradition of being a very welcoming community."

However, during a public meeting Tuesday night at the Greenboro Community Centre, many residents voiced concerns about the project.

"I'm concerned about the women coming into the community that does not have a hospital near them, that does not have a grocery store near them," Marina Bossio said.

"What kind of security are we going to have in the neighbourhood? What kind of supervision is there going to be over the site? How are issues going to be dealt with," Bernard Ouellet asked.

Coun. Jessica Bradley speaks to residents at a community meeting about plans to build an Inuit women's shelter on Forestglade Crescent. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa)

The Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition says the building would be no more than three storeys tall, mirroring a residential building across the street. The CMHC has already approved $8.8 million for construction if the land can be found.

In a letter to constituents, Coun. Bradley said, "This shelter will provide Inuit women and children with a safe, healthy and culturally appropriate place to live. It will give them an opportunity to heal in a welcoming family-oriented neighbourhood with greater access to schools, parks and greenspace."

The goal is to have the building built by 2027.

Ottawa's finance and corporate services committee will discuss the proposed land transfer at its meeting on May 7.

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