Con­cerns over num­ber of care homes in area

‘Fear al­ways comes from the un­known’

Cape Breton Post - - PROVINCE -

Ev­ery res­i­dent in Hal­i­fax who needs spe­cial care has the right to a home.

But de­ter­min­ing whether the province has fi­nal say in how many care homes can go where on mu­nic­i­pal streets is a ques­tion still clouded in un­cer­tainty.

Dis­cus­sions be­gan af­ter Coun. Dar­ren Fisher of Har­bourview-Burn­side-Dart­mouth East planned to re­quest a re­port on the city’s abil­ity to reg­u­late or limit the amount of group homes per­mit­ted in one area on Thurs­day’s Har­bour East- Marine Drive Com­mu­nity Coun­cil meet­ing.

The Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices has since con­firmed what was in ques­tion were small op­tions homes, which dif­fer from group homes in size.

Small op­tions homes have live-in staff who pro­vide care to three to four oc­cu­pants, who can be youth, but mostly adults with dis­abil­i­ties.

Fisher told Metro Hal­i­fax last week that con­stituents in one neigh­bour­hood raised con­cerns around the fact that four of these homes were lo­cated within a one or two- block ra­dius.

“Fear al­ways comes from the un­known,” Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Min­is­ter Joanne Bernard said of the is­sue Tues­day.

Bernard ex­plained these homes are run by ei­ther non-or for-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions, not by the province.

Each ser­vice provider must fol­low a “rig­or­ous process” to ob­tain a li­cence, meet de­part­men­tal stan­dards and un­dergo in­spec­tions, she added.

“We are a car­ing so­ci­ety. We have an obli­ga­tion to pro­vide the best pos­si­ble ser­vices and quite frankly, peo­ple de­serve where they want to live. They have the same rights,” she said.

She in­structed any res­i­dents with con­cerns should con­tact the depart­ment di­rectly.

Although oper­a­tions of these homes fall un­der the depart­ment’s eye, reg­u­lat­ing the amount on a street “would have noth­ing to do with the province. It would be all about zon­ing.”

Cur­rently, there are dif­fer­ent zon­ing by­laws in place for small op­tions homes in the Hal­i­faxarea and Dart­mouth, Bernard said.

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