I have recently been made aware that the John Howard Society has purchased a property on 43rd Avenue in the 2500 block. This property consists of a home and a six-plex in the rear.
Upon further investigation, I learned that this was going to be turned into a recovery centre. The six-plex will be rentals, as it is now, with the exception that those renting must be clean and sober.
At no time was anyone in the surrounding community approached as to how they feel about this type of service being introduced into this residential, family-oriented neighbourhood.
I would think that might have been a first step to take in order to get good feedback.
Apparently, the news that a recovery centre was in the works became public much quicker than was anticipated. I also question as to why a recovery centre would position itself near a liquor store. There is also a high school a block away, an elementary school a block-and-a-half away, and a day care half a block away.
I fully understand the need for this type of facility. I also understand that this is one of those “not in my backyard” type of businesses. When a project like this is thought of and acted upon without the benefit of consultation with the community that you are about to encompass, it suggests that you are not being straight forward.
Why would you not hold open community meetings and explain what is really happening before embarking on the purchase of a property? I, for one, feel this is a way of coming in through the back door and trying to tie the hands of this community.
A project like this, in a residential setting, has far more impact on the property owners than you may realize. Many people have lived here for a long period of time and have strong roots. Others have not been here for as long but have a strong desire to make this their long-term home and have shown so by the care they have taken with their property.
When a business of this type moves into a neighbourhood, it changes the area. Property values decrease. Nobody I know would choose to live around a recovery centre.
Without both proper consultation and community support and approval, I feel this project should be seriously reconsidered.