The Salvation Army's proposal to relocate their services to a new 350-bed mega-center at 333 Montréal Road remains a matter of great concern to the people of Ottawa-Vanier. I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns about the social ramifications this project could have on our Ottawa-Vanier riding. I understand your apprehension about the potential repercussions of this move and I share it. As your provincial MPP, your feedback is important to me.
Our government is committed to reducing homelessness and poverty in Ontario, including the target to end chronic homelessness by 2025. The Salvation Army relocation currently requires a zoning change that must be decided by the City of Ottawa. The zoning change requested by a proponent such as the Salvation Army requires a process that must take place at the municipal level.
It is very important that all the concerns raised by the project be well explained to municipal decision makers, including the difficult reconciliation of the Salvation Army plan with the plans to revitalize the Montreal Road and with the objectives of the province to invest more in “housing first” policies rather than in emergency shelters. These provincial objectives were reiterated to the City of Ottawa in September.
As part of this process, the Salvation Army conducted an open-door consultation day on September 13. Many members of the community were able to convey their concerns about this project and I was happy to have the chance to discuss it with them. The magnitude of the project and its location near services such as the Wabano Center, Vanier Community Service Center and a residential neighborhood continue to raise major concerns for myself and others.
The City of Ottawa Planning Committee has reserved three dates in November to consider the public delegations and the complex issues raised by this submission.
I continue to work to help find a solution that meets the Salvation Army's desire to move out of the George Street location, but also meets the needs of the Vanier community. I am pleased to have an open discussion with you on this issue which affects us all.
Nathalie Des Rosiers
MPP – Députée, Ottawa-Vanier
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