A Letter to the Mayor From the MCL

Dear Mayor Iveson,

McCauley community residents are very concerned about the number of proposed projects that would significantly increase the range of social services and supportive housing units located in the neighbourhood. This is not simply a NIMBY response. In large part, residents in our neighbourhood are very caring and compassionate in their interactions with community members who are marginalized. You know that stakeholders have struggled for many years to find the right balance in the concentration of these social services and affordable/supportive housing in McCauley. We are thankful that you personally have spoken publicly about this issue many times.

However, we’re aware of several initiatives being proposed by non-profit organizations based in the inner city that would increase the concentration of social services and supportive housing units in the area.

These include:
1. Community Wellness Services – initiative coordinated by the City.
2. Redevelopment of Boyle Street Community Services.
3. Repurposing of the Remand Centre.
4. Redevelopment of the Herb Jamieson Centre, including an increase of 130 emergency shelter units.
5. Expansion of Salvation Army services.
6. Four medically-supervised injection sites (two in McCauley).
7. Hope Mission’s two trailers (51 emergency shelter units) beside the Herb Jamieson – MCL lost an appeal of this development to the SDAB in December.

We’re frustrated that these organizations approach the community for “consultation” after funding proposals have been submitted, and in some cases, the funding is already in place. This isn’t how good neighbours treat each other. In their desire to do good, there is little thought to how these expanded services and housing may have negative effects in the neighbourhood. As well, there is no dialogue with the community about how to mitigate these potentially negative effects. We’ve also approached the Province about being part of the discussion about the repurposing of the Remand Centre, but to no avail.

Several of these organizations have received, or have applied for, provincial funding to develop new supportive housing in McCauley and the inner city. This is contrary to the spirit of the moratorium adopted by City Council in April of 2016. It is unfortunate that, unlike the previous moratorium adopted in 2012, the Province and some non-profit organizations have not voluntarily agreed to respect the provisions of the City’s current moratorium.

Earlier this month, Lyall Brenneis, the City Branch Manager of Community Inclusion and Investment, attended a meeting of the McCauley Community League Board. Members expressed their frustration about this list of projects (and there may be more).

We request that the City play an ongoing coordinating role in bringing together stakeholders to dialogue about these and other project ideas before they are funded and a “done deal.” We request that the City strongly encourage the Province and non-profit organizations to respect the provisions of the current moratorium. Finally, we request the City initiate and support an inclusive process to develop a comprehensive plan for the coordinated delivery of social services and development of affordable and supportive housing in the inner city and throughout the city.

We look forward to your timely response to our reasonable requests.

Phil O’Hara
McCauley Community League

More in this issue

Neighbourhood Views

  • Treasures of Ukrainian Wood Carvings – This exhibit was featured at the Ukrainian National Federation Hall (106 Avenue and 98 Street) on April 1-2, 2017. It also included a fine art show and sale, as well as performances. Paula E. Kirman

  • Treasures of Ukrainian Wood Carvings – This exhibit was featured at the Ukrainian National Federation Hall (106 Avenue and 98 Street) on April 1-2, 2017. It also included a fine art show and sale, as well as performances. Paula E. Kirman

  • Making Art, Making Smiles – Ann-Marie Johnson on her final day of watercolour art classes (April 3), offered by instructor Bruce in conjunction with Inner City Pastoral Ministries (ICPM) at Bissell Centre. Yovella M.

  • Outdoor Way of the Cross – Due to the wet, cold weather on Good Friday, April 14, attendance was down at the annual Outdoor Way of the Cross from about 660 (in recent years) to only 300 at the peak. This year’s theme was “The cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor are one” based on Pope Francis’s letter laudato si that notes that poor people pay the greatest price for our disregard of taking care of the environment. We walked for the first time west of 101 Street in the shadow of Rogers Place. Text: Jim Gurnett Photo: Michael Hoyt

Around the Neighbourhood

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