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St-Henri residents form human chain to show distance between school and future safe drug use site


Around 40 people formed a human chain in Montreal's St-Henri borough Sunday afternoon to illustrate the distance between a local elementary school and a future safe drug-use site.

The 36-unit building, which has yet to open, will house homeless people suffering from mental health and addiction issues. It will also have a safe drug use area on the ground floor.

But parents at the nearby Victor-Rousselot Elementary School have been fighting against the addition for weeks. While many agree with the project's aims, they say it's too close for comfort.

The site is less than 100 metres from the school, which has about 300 students from preschool to Grade 6.

"I'm just a bit concerned that with the addition of this project, it's gonna change things in the neighbourhood, and especially the safety for my kids," said parent Matthew Szostak, speaking to CTV News at a rally of concerned citizens on Sunday.

The gathering comes after a meeting between residents and the Benedict Labre House, the non-profit behind the project.

But many left that night with concerns that haven't gone away.

"I mean, we all have to come together as a group. This is terrible, the way this has been handled," said St-Henri resident Jane Wightman.

The site, still under construction, is set to open in November. Parents and neighbours want to see the project re-located and have hired lawyers to help plead their case.

Nevertheless, they say negotiations are at a standstill.

"For now, there's no conversation, there's no dialogue. So probably the next step will be an injunction," said parent Chantal Gagnon.

Despite growing opposition, Benedict Labre House told CTV News last week that it's confident the project will go forward and save lives.

The non-profit has yet to respond to multiple requests for comment on Sunday. Top Stories

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