Site plan approved for new Salvation Army site on Montreal Road
Ottawa's planning committee endorsed The Salvation Army’s site plan that includes a shelter on Montreal Road in Vanier.
Chantal Pellerin lives near the new site and says although it is needed, it might be too far for those using the current facilities.
"Vanier has always been known as one of the places where we have a lot of transients and a lot of crime, etcetera. Though I understand there’s a need for it," says Pellerin. "It makes it difficult for people who are already centrally located downtown. And now have to travel down here to get those services that they need."
The Salvation Army made its case before the committee, saying the services it will provide at the new facility are urgently needed.
"We’re thrilled that Planning Committee has approved the site plan for the Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope on Montreal Road," says the Salvation Army’s Glenn van Gulik. "Our vision for the Centre is a place of hope and transformation; one that works with the community to support those who are struggling and building with them a hopeful future."
The Salvation Army's plan for a residential care facility and emergency shelter includes 32 supportive housing beds. The emergency shelter will be 25 per cent smaller than the original plan, offering 99 beds instead of 140.
The city of Ottawa says the proposed addictions program has been eliminated from the plan.
Drew Dobson owns Finnigan’s Pub, right next to where the new shelter will be. He’s worried that it could be too big for the area.
"It’s not that we don’t want anyone here. We just want a reasonable facility here that fits in with the community," says Dobson. "The city does need shelter facilities and the ones in the market are all aging and maybe it’s time for a new modern facility. But the new modern facility should not exceed 100 beds maximum. They will overwhelm the community you put them in if you build them too big."
The proposed design will be built mostly behind the thrift store as to keep it off the main road. Councillor Mathieu Fleury is opposed to the idea, saying there are better ways to support the city's most vulnerable.
"I will continue to advocate and push my colleagues so that public dollars go to models that are modern. And that bring a dignity and bring stability," Fleury said. "And the only way to do that is when someone has a key to a unit with a lease."
Reaction of the relocation is mixed from residents in the area.
"I don’t think it’s going to bring down the neighbourhood," says one Vanier resident.
"It’s really tough but if my heart is speaking I would have to say, whereever there is room we have to do this," says Vanier resident Nicole Maillet.
"It’s a service that’s needed, so I understand," says Pellerin. "But I’m sort of on the fence in terms of how I feel about that."
With this approval, the Salvation Army is one-step closer to finally getting a new facility.