Some residents living in the Hadley Rd. area would like to see city council to hold a re-vote on a controversial children's care home coming into the neighbourhood.
Council on Monday voted 4-3 in favour of the Native Co-ordination Council (NCC) purchasing a roughly $500,000 home for five children between the ages of nine and 12. Ever since paNOW brought the story to light there has been strong opposition against it, especially from those living in the area.
Many of the concerns revolved around safety, value depreciation of nearby homes, increase in traffic and the need for a house in that price range. These questions were addressed by the NCC and the concerns weren't enough to sway four members of council to vote in the non-profit group's favour.
Keith Garrison, who lives in the area, said he would like to see second vote especially since two members of council weren't present, although he strongly encouraged the community to welcome the children into the neighbourhood.
“I think if one or two more councillors would have showed up [Monday night] you would have seen a different outcome,” he said. “But I'm not willing to fight for it. I do believe if there weren't extenuating circumstances [Monday night] on why one or more councillors weren't there, you would have had a different outcome.”
Garrison said he will treat the children coming into the community like any other neighbour and admitted that a Facebook group on the subject created more fear than solutions. He said he wouldn't move out of the neighbourhood and believes the care home will have little impact on him and his children.
Garrison also gave a lot of credit to Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick, whose ward the care home will be located in. He said Ogrodnick received a lot of harassment on his position to oppose the care home going in. Garrison argued his councillor was doing what his constituents wanted.
“We have the right to our opinion,” he said. “No one can take that from us. Our opinion was no. Fair enough? That might be based on ignorance, fear and maybe education of the times for all that matters but we have the right to our opinion – right, wrong and in between.”
He added he thought it was unfortunate to see community members being pitted against each other.
Alois Koenig, who also lives in the area, said he was disappointed with council's decision because it wasn't based on what the community wanted. He also supported a second vote.
“This is not a home; this is a business and a business doesn't have to be in a residential area,” he said. “Basically the way I see it, if someone in the city would have said that instead of changing the bylaw and rezoning the house to let them do their business in this house they should have told them this is a residential area. Doesn't matter if you are opening up a gas station or a supermarket or whatever. It doesn't matter. You can't do it here.”
Koenig, who wasn't ready to move out of the area over the decision, argued Prince Albert has plenty of five-bedroom homes available in other parts of the city and said given the price of the home, the NCC could have saved more money.
He stressed the opposition isn't against the children but the business.
Even if a council decided to hold another vote, there's little chance things will change.
Ward 4 Coun. Don Cody, who missed the meeting on Monday because he was on vacation, told paNOW if he were given the chance to vote he would have supported the care home coming to Hadley Road.
Cody's vote would have then brought the total in favour to 5-3, ensuring a majority.
“I recall when there was one in my area as well along 15th,” he said. “I said look that's going to be a problem for traffic and for this and I voted against that. After checking on this one, I feel there won't be a traffic problem and I don't think there will be a devaluation of property.”
Cody added he hasn't heard anything about the care home in his ward, which he voted against. He said there's roughly 14 care homes in his ward and he doesn't even know where they are.
Ward 8 Coun. Ted Zurakowski, who missed the meeting for personal family reasons, couldn't say one way or the other how he would have voted as he wasn't familiar enough with the subject to give a definitive opinion.
He expressed indifference about the idea of council holding a second vote.
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