Following meetings with stakeholders, Ward 2 Councillor Keenan Aylwin says an agreement has been reached that could avoid the need to construct a fence alongside the Busby Street Centre.
It involves an “outdoor amenity area” for Busby clients.
Last May, when neighbours of the Busby Centre raised noise and behaviour concerns, they suggested in a petition a fence along the MacDonald Street frontage of the centre would help alleviate some of those concerns.
The idea gained initial support, including from Aylwin and general committee, which endorsed a staff report’s recommendation to build a fence. But when it came to council for ratification, the issue was referred to the building committee for further review.
“After doing a walk around at the centre, speaking with Busby participants and neighbours, it became clear to me that a fence could actually exacerbate the neighbourhood concerns,” Aylwin told City Scene at the time. “The fence is also not a dignified or compassionate solution and I think it sends the wrong message. I’m hopeful that we can come up with a compromise that works for everyone.”
Now, following consultations with stakeholders, Aylwin believes a solution has been found.
“At our last meeting, the neighbours, CMHA, and Busby came to an agreement to proceed with the construction of an outdoor amenity area for the participants in Busby’s programs,” he said.
“This area will be created at the rear of the building in the parking lot and will be a more dignified and effective solution than a fence. The neighbours, Canadian Mental Health Association (the property’s owner), and Busby will continue to meet on a regular basis to assess the effectiveness of this solution and to keep the neighbourhood engaged with the centre.”
The motion to build the fence is scheduled to come before the building committee Tuesday night, but Aylwin anticipates that “it will not pass.”