Vanier meet­ing kicks off

Over 150 peo­ple were signed up to speak

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page - Kieran De­la­m­ont

Res­i­dents made their voice heard on Tues­day, as over 150 peo­ple signed up to speak to the hottest plan­ning file in the city, the Sal­va­tion Army’s pro­posal to move to Vanier.

The city’s plan­ning com­mit­tee be­gan its marathon three­day meet­ing this week, with an open floor for any mem­ber of the public who wanted to sign up.

It be­came, largely, a re­hash­ing of po­si­tions that have been firmly estab­lished over the course of 2017. Res­i­dents of Vanier like Stephen Will­cock, who has lived in the neigh­bour­hood for 27 years, de­cried the chasm be­tween the Sal­va­tion Army and the com­mu­nity, say­ing that “this de­vel­op­ment, pre­sented as a de­ci­sion al­ready made, was a shock.”

Other res­i­dents, like Cathie Or­fali, said they “no longer feel pro­tected by the city plan­ning rules put in place,” and the­o­rized the move would sti­fle de­vel­op­ment in the area.

Ma­her Arar — the Syr­ian- born Cana­dian who was tor­tured by Syr­ian in­tel­li­gence in 2003, and was ul­ti­mately awarded $10.5 mil­lion — said it was his ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing a land­lord in Vanier over the past few years “put grey hairs on [his] head.”

City shel­ter em­ploy­ees lined up along­side the Sal­va­tion Army, de­spite the crit­i­cism of the emer­gency shel­ter model from hous­ing ex­perts like Tim Aubry, pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Ot­tawa, who told the com­mit­tee that the megashel­ter model was not ideal.

Shel­ter em­ploy­ees agreed emer­gency shel­ters are des­per­ately needed in Ot­tawa, where there is a wait­list for com­mu­nity hous­ing that ex­ceeds 10,000 names. “Do­ing what we’re do­ing to make sure they’re housed safely, with­out a shel­ter is a bit like a hos­pi­tal with­out an emer­gency,” said Marc Provost, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at the Sal­va­tion Army’s Booth Cen­tre.

“We feel that these are the peo­ple that are al­ready in the neigh­bour­hood that need a place to go,” said Marie-josée Houle, gen­eral di­rec­tor of Ac­tion Lo­ge­ment, a hous­ing ser­vice in Vanier.

“They’re peo­ple who the Sal­va­tion Army can help.”

The meet­ing will con­tinue through­out the week, likely re­main­ing in ses­sion un­til Fri­day af­ter­noon, when the com­mit­tee will vote on the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Kieran De­la­m­ont/metro

marc Provost, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the sal­va­tion army’s Booth Cen­tre, speaks to the plan­ning com­mit­tee on novem­ber 14.

metro | ot­tawa

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