A plan by the Ktunaxa Nation to set up a 20 bed residential facility in a residence on 13th Avenue South prompted a petition to be sent to council by neighbourhood residents. The story documenting the discussion among mayor and council ran in Wednesday’s Townsman.
Erin Stevenson, one of the neighbours of the property who signed the petition, wanted to clarify on Wednesday that the opposition was to do with the zoning parameters rather than the planned use of the building.
She worried that the petitioners had come across as against the facility itself, but they are concerned that the Public Institutional Zoning does not allow for the type of institution that the Ktunaxa Nation’s plan calls for.
Dale LeClair, Chief Administrative Officer for the Ktunaxa Nation, said he recently met with Mayor Wayne Stetski regarding the petition.
LeClair said Scotty’s House fits well within the zoning bylaws for that property.
“We’ve taken a very thorough look at the bylaws and feel very comfortable,” he said, adding they would not want to go beyond the legal regulations for the property.
LeClair also met with city staff a couple of weeks ago to make sure the proposed uses fit the zoning requirements.
He said in regards to the petition, “the Nation is very cognizant of the needs of the surrounding neighbourhood and would not in any way want them to feel we are putting them in any kind of danger or any kind of situation where they may or may not believe they have any kind of undesirable people in the area.”
LeClair said there may be some connections mistakenly being drawn between the Nation’s successful Street Angel program.
“I think they are making the connection between Street Angels and taking individuals who are on the fringe of society and very troubled who we care for, both Nation and non-Nation, and somehow connected to Scotty’s Home.”
Scotty’s House would be a Community Cluster Home Share primarily designed and operated as a residential option for adult youth over 19 leaving foster care and elder housing for single elders 55 and over that are able to live without care support.
“It really is an opportunity from a cultural perspective to bring these two groups together and develop relationships,” he said.
They said the goal of the home is to provide a safe environment where people can share common space, knowledge and resources.
LeClair said they would be holding an open house around the second week of October.
For instance, one of the future clients already lives a few houses down the block. He is aging out of the foster care system.
“So we have a place for him to go to continue his developmental growth,” he said.
They are also planning to set up a neighbourhood committee for those interested in participating in addressing those issues.
He said rumours that Scotty’s House will be a halfway house and transition home for offenders are far from the truth.
“It’s unfortunate that it came to a petition. I think it’s based on a bit of a misunderstanding and we will endeavour to work harder in informing the community, because it’s about positive partnership and community investment,” he said.