Township gearing up for legal battle with Region over proposed supportive housing complex

It looks as though Brock Township is gearing up for a legal battle with Durham Region over a proposed supportive housing complex in Beaverton.

Members of council approved a pair of lengthy resolutions – as well as a bylaw amendment – designed to put the brakes on the project following a closed session that stretched for more than an hour on Monday (Oct. 26) night.

The first calls for the Township solicitor and staff to develop an interim control bylaw temporarily prohibiting the use of modular construction, which the Region plans to use to build a 50-unit complex on the grounds of Lakeview Manor.

The resolution notes that the Township’s zoning bylaw does not currently permit manufactured dwelling houses consisting of prefabricated components and that supportive housing needs to be “carefully located” within the municipality.

As well, the project’s proximity to the Beaverton Harbour could result in “unanticipated impacts” on current and future residents.

Not surprisingly, the vote amongst members of council was contentious.

Councillors Mike Jubb (Ward 1), Claire Doble (Ward 2), Walter Schummer (Ward 3) and Cria Pettingill (Ward 4) all voted in favour, with Mayor Debbie Bath-Hadden, Regional Councillor Ted Smith and Lynn Campbell (Ward 5) voting against.

Coun. Jubb noted that an interim control bylaw was a effective way for the Township to “hold and pause” the project.

“It’s extremely important to pass this now,” he said.

Mayor Bath-Hadden did not support the motion due to the potential financial implications that could arise should the Region legally challenge the decision.

Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell also said she wasn’t particularly interested in seeing lawyers get involved.

“I’d rather see the Township and Region have some reasonable conversations about it,” she said.

While Coun. Smith said that he wasn’t “intimidated” by the Region’s resources, he said the resolution put the Township on “very shaky ground” as modular construction has already been employed at a number of locations.

“This is hardly worth the paper it’s printed on,” he said.

Coun. Pettingill countered by saying that she “disappointed” by the lack of support from Mayor Bath-Hadden and Coun. Smith – the Township’s two representatives on regional council – given the outpouring of concerns from residents thus far.

“It’s our obligation as municipal leaders,” she said.

Coun. Schummer agreed, saying that members of council should “stand up” for concerned residents.

“We owe it to them.”

The second resolution formally requests that the Region rescind the single-source purchase agreement for the 50 modular units proposed.

The resolution notes that the process did not adhere to the Region’s purchasing policy as there was “no extreme urgency” to require a single-source contract.

“This is a very, very poor financial decision,” said Coun. Doble.

In addition, the resolution requests that the Region not tender the project until the Township completes a study on supportive housing and modular design as part of the interim control bylaw.

Members of council once again split on the vote. Councillors Jubb, Doble, Schummer and Pettingill voted in favour, while Mayor Bath-Hadden, Coun. Smith and Coun. Campbell voted against.

The bylaw amendment approved by council would see site plan approval fall to council, with recommendations from staff.

For more information on the proposal and the pushback from residents, click the link below:

Region will not ‘pause and hold’ supportive housing complex in Beaverton