News / Ottawa

Salvation Army report sets up battle between city staff and community

Controversial Vanier development should be turned down Coun. Mathieu Fleury argues

Coun. Mathieu Fleury.

Emma Jackson / Metro

Coun. Mathieu Fleury.

A final version of a staff report on the Salvation Army’s controversial proposal for 333 Montreal Road was released late last week, with city staff remaining steadfast in their support for the project, despite objections from the community and local councillor.

Coun. Mathieu Fleury had asked that the committee hold a joint meeting that would consider both the land use issues and whether or not the application would be the best use of city social-services money.

But in a Thursday memo sent to members of council staff ruled that out. 

Fleury’s position has long been that even if the zoning application goes through, the site would be detrimental to the neighbourhood. He has asked that staff consider the social use of the application in addition to its zoning implications. 

“Planning staff cannot keep washing their hands of responsibility of the land use impacts by saying that zoning isn’t intended to control individual problem behaviour,” wrote Fleury, in a lengthy, eight-page response included in the final report. “Of course, this is untrue. If it were true, we would have no problem putting halfway houses next to schools.

"This is government being government, working in silos," said Fleury. "I believe that the community wants that to stop."

The meeting is shaping up to be a pitched battle of sorts. "Now, it's in the politics' hands," said Fleury on Sunday. "This week is the cruch time," he added, given that other members of planning committee will determine their positions.

Already, the entire first day of the three-day committee meeting has been filled with scheduled community deputations before an official notice had even been sent to the community said Fleury. He added that the meeting could run in excess of a week, unless there are strict restrictions placed on who can speak.

The planning report notes that of 347 community comments submitted to city staff, only five were supportive of the application. 

The Vanier Community Association, which has convened 10 working groups that are working with the city on alternatives, are also pushing for a more socially-focused approach to the application.

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