Concerns raised for proposed homeless shelter
Published Thursday, March 29, 2007 2:41PM EDT
A plan to relocate a homeless shelter to the heart of the city's financial district was met with opposition and concerns about property values, tourism and the effect on local businesses.
Residents, community leaders and business owners attended an information meeting at Metro Hall on Wednesday night to voice their expressions and learn more about the proposed shelter at the corner of Richmond and Peter streets.
There were a number of heated exchanges between those who oppose the plan and those who laud it.
The biggest rift was between Councillor Adam Vaughan, who supports the idea, and concerned club owners.
"If they're worried about community safety, get rid of the hooligans. It's not the homeless that are going around mugging people, and breaking beer bottles against the sides of building and vandalizing cars," Vaughan said.
"It's not the homeless that are running around screaming up until 3 or 4 at night. It's not the homeless that are racing their cars up and down Richmond Street. It's not the homeless who have been shooting each other and it's not the homeless that have not been causing riots inside these nightclubs. That problem belongs to the nightclubs."
Club owners shot back, saying they have brought up property values and worked hard to re-energize Toronto's nightlife.
The proposal is to use the old Fez Batik club as the new homeless shelter when the one at 110 Edward St. closes down at the end of April, which is being replaced by affordable housing.
Ralph Daley, who lives two blocks away from Richmond and Peter, supports the relocation spot.
"This centre will remove the homeless and at least a portion of the panhandlers from the area, which is of benefit to everyone -- the homeless, the businesses and the local residents," he said.
Other residents, however, feel placing homeless who have drug addictions in a spot where alcohol use is abundant doesn't make much sense.
The new facility would be a 24/7 referral and assessment centre that will have 40 beds. Council will vote on the decision to purchase the building at the end of April.
The city hopes to have it up and running by the end of the summer.
A general government meeting to allow more discussions on the project is scheduled for April 12.
With a report from CTV's MairiAnna Bachynsky