Region of Durham suing Brock Township over Beaverton supportive housing project

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Published October 4, 2021 at 12:43 pm

The Region of Durham is suing Brock Township, one of its own municipalities, to quash a bylaw blocking the Beaverton supportive housing complex.

The planned 50-unit apartment building offers tenants with 24/7 physical and mental health care services. The goal of the project is to house north Durham’s unsheltered population, offering them treatment for acute mental health and addiction issues.

Tenants may voluntarily use these services, but their participation is not mandatory.

Many Beaverton residents have tried to block construction of the housing unit and after calls for more consultation, Brock Township amended its bylaws in November 2020 to halt construction of modular buildings for a year. The Township can extend the moratorium for another year, with that milestone coming up next month.

In its application, the Region said the bylaw amounts to “people zoning,” which they call an “illegal action.”

The Region also alleges the township’s ruling bylaw is an attempt to delay construction until the Ontario government pulls funding, which would kill the housing project.

A psychiatrist well-versed in addictions treatment spoke to Regional Council last week on the issue. Dr. Mark Katz decried the lack of local services for potential tenants, a lack of a local hospital and poor engagement with the community as reasons for Durham to re-evaluate the process.

Dr. Katz said he was supportive of the proposal’s goals, but he was concerned the tenants might not see lasting positive health outcomes.

A hearing will be held in February 2022.

 

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