Community Questions – April 24, 2014

To: Metis Capital Housing Corporation
From: North Glenora Planning and Transportation Committee
Subject: Community Questions Concerning Development
Date: April 24, 2014
 

Please find below the list of questions that we described in our joint meeting. This list of questions was developed initially for the Westmount Presbyterian Church development, and has been added to with specific questions raised about the Family Reunification Program. As discussed, our hope is that you can provide written answers to these questions and that they can serve as an FAQ that can be made available to the community for reference.

Please feel free to add questions that we have missed here that you believe would be important to the community.

This is a preliminary list, and we should expect that as the project develops, the engagement process continues, and as more robust feedback from the community is received we can update it as we go.

Questions:

  1. Can you provide a full description of the Family Reunification Program (FRP), from intake to graduation? What are it’s objectives, success and failure rates?
  2. How many participants have left the program or been terminated for non-compliance with program requirements? Are there any graduates of the program who would talk to the community?
  3. How long has the Corporation operated its Family Reunification Program (FRP)?
  4. Has the provincial government or any independent third-party formally evaluated the program?
  5. Dependent on the answers to 3 & 4, if the FRP has not been independently evaluated or operated successfully by MCHC for a minimum of two years, why is the Corporation taking steps to substantially increase (triple) the size of the program at this point in time?
  6. There is concern in the community about the FRP in part because the Corporation’s stated mandate and expertise is in housing, not in providing high-risk social service programming. What specific expertise does the Corporation have in child welfare cases, managing individuals with substance abuse and mental health issues, family violence and the reunification of dysfunctional families?
  7. How has the FRP program integrated with the community and the surrounding communities at the Balwin site? Can you provide specific examples of any problems or issues that have arisen and how they were dealt with? Is there a community representative from Balwin that NGCL can contact for their perspective?
  8. How are candidates for the FRP chosen?
  9. What percentage of the development do you envisage will be occupied? If you foresee times when the development will be more occupied or less so, when will those times be?
  10. Reacting to what was said at the MCHC public meeting, some residents have expressed concern that the FRP may draw drug dealers into the neighbourhood, and create the risk of more drug use and violence in the park. This element may pose a risk for FRP participants struggling with addiction issues. The park has been used by drug dealers coming into the neighbourhood in the past because of its secluded areas and because it is a central point in the city that is convenient for distribution purposes. This is causing a great deal of concern in the neighbourhood. What percentage of FRP participants would be expected to have a history of drug, alcohol or other substance abuse problems, and how does the FRP address the concerns stated above for both its program members and community residents?
  11. The materials provided by the Corporation mention “emergency placements.” Can you explain what these are? Can they occur at any time of the day or night, or are they limited to specific times? What is the range in duration for an emergency placement? The discussions with MCHC indicated that the residents of the FRP will be carefully screened. How do “emergency placements” fit into the screening process?
  12. The Corporation’s Fact Sheet provided at the meeting states: “during the initial period of residency, residents are required to have a staff member with them when they leave the property.” The need for this directive has caused concern among some residents. Please provide all of the reasons that this custody/control measure is in place. Would some residents be subject to a conditional sentence order, parole requirement or other legal requirement restricting their free movement and requiring custody/control measures?
  13. Street parking is one of the most pressing general issues expressed by the community. How many new residents of driving age are expected, based on expected utilization, and what is your plan for off-street parking? Have you considered having a traffic study conducted? If a parking variance is applied for will it be restricted to this project only, in the event that the building converts at a later time to a use with more parking stalls needed? Is this a contingency that you will plan for?
  14. How will changes from the existing building to the new one affect immediate neighbours, (height, shading, noise, sight-lines) either positively or negatively?
  15. On the question of sustainability, is there a planned lifetime for the program? What will happen to the building should the FRP run its course or funding is removed or for any other reason the program ends?
  16. Based on what they know of the program so far and what was said at the MCHC public meeting, some residents they feel the project amounts in part to a residential treatment and rehabilitation program that is inherently unsuitable for the site because it is across the street from an elementary school. These residents are concerned that school children may be exposed to inappropriate behaviours from the FRP residents whether in the park or elsewhere. They are concerned that the project would cause the school to be viewed as less safe and desirable by parents, and precipitate a drop in school enrolment. What is your response?
  17. Is the building being purpose-built (i.e. for the FRP)?
  18. Can you provide images and more detail on the types of materials to be used, the physical form of the unit and its design?
  19. What evidence can you provide residents to help understand how the proposed development and its use will affect property values, whether positively or negatively?
  20. Some residents, particularly the elderly and parents with young children, have expressed concern about the potential for increased crime and violence in the neighbourhood, and fear for their physical safety. What do you say in response to that?
  21. What evidence can you provide residents to help understand how the proposed development and its use will affect crime rates and safety in the neighbourhood, whether positively or negatively?
  22. Your development is one of 3 medium to large-scale developments planned in North Glenora, all around the park. What risks does this scale of change in a small community have, and how can it be mitigated?
  23. The neighbouring property to the West is undergoing a proposed transition to a social-housing model and the massing on that site will change radically. How will you work with them to minimize impact on the community during the development phase? How will you coordinate with them during the design phase to ensure the best possible outcome? Please also specify any plans to work with the redevelopment of the Glenora Patio Homes.
  24. At the public meeting you shared your plan to subscribe to the EPS’ Crime-Free Multi-Housing standard and to institute a “Good Neighbour’s Policy”. What does this mean for neighbours and to the community at large?
  25. North Glenora’s most pressing housing need is for senior’s housing accessible to long-time residents who no longer are able to stay in their homes. Was this considered as a use for the site, and are you open to helping address this need for your community?
  26. Have you considered some hybrid – for example some combination of affordable Metis housing, housing for those who have graduated from the FRP, and seniors housing?

 

Thank you for your commitment to meaningful engagement.