Beaconsfield residents call NIMBY on youth housing
Some Beaconsfield residents are concerned about plans for a housing unit for troubled youth in their community.
Batshaw Youth and Family Centres wants to demolish a building now being used by Portage -- a centre that helps teens with substance abuse issues – to rebuild a new facility catering to a home for troubled teens.
“It just sounds like trouble and I don't think the residents had any rights in any of this,” said Beaconsfield resident Tina Rizk.
Since 2001, Portage has been part of the quiet, peaceful, and family-oriented West Island suburb, offering rehabilitation for teens with substance abuse issues.
The Elm St. building, however, is just a temporary home because it is owned by Batshaw, said Portage communications director Seychelle Harding.
“We always knew that we had to eventually move. Batshaw's been forthcoming with us,” she said.
Although it doesn't yet have the funding for it, the youth and family services group has proposed demolishing the building and constructing an open housing unit for troubled teens.
“From an open facility, from an open unit, children can go to school in the community, and have much more liberty of movement,” explained Margaret Douek, executive director of Batshaw.
The Portage staff, however, was shocked when a demolition sign suddenly popped up on the property, after Batshaw filed requests with the city for a demolition and building permit.
“I understand today that it is part of normal procedure of the municipality, but I was unaware that was going to happen,” said Douek.
At a council meeting earlier this week, some residents criticized Mayor David Pollock, accusing him of keeping Batshaw's plans in the dark, since Batshaw first approached the city in 2011.
Pollock apologized at the meeting and emphasizes that nothing has been finalized.
“I've stated publicly that in retrospect I should have stated something, but it did not seem to be an immediate project and it was years away,” he said.
Portage said it is only asking for one thing:
“We just want proper notice time before we move,” said Harding
An information session will be held at Beaconsfield City Hall on March 11.