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Durham Region files lawsuit against Brock Township

The Region of Durham has filed a civil suit against Brock Township in the ongoing battle over a supportive housing proposal.

A lawsuit, filed in Superior Court on Sept. 24, formally asks the court to quash an interim control bylaw passed by Township council in November of 2020. A hearing via video conference has been scheduled for February of next year.

The Region claims the bylaw, which prohibits the establishment of supportive housing and modular construction for a one-year period pending a municipal study, is a form of “people zoning” and thus “illegal”and “contrary to public policy.”

“The Respondent (the Township of Brock) passed the bylaw in bad faith, specifically targeting supportive housing, which is created for the purposes of accommodating persons with
emotional, mental, social or physical conditions who require group living arrangements for their well-being,” it reads.

It also alleges that the bylaw was passed in an effort to delay the project “until such time as the Ontario government funding is withdrawn and the project is effectively killed.”

The Region claims the bylaw breaches several pieces of legislation, including the Planning Act, Municipal Act and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

None of the claims have been proven in court.

While the filing stretches for nearly 350 pages, the bulk is supporting documentation such as extracts from relevant documents, excerpts from meeting minutes and correspondence between staff members.

It includes a lengthy affidavit from Alan Robins, the Region’s director of housing services, outlining the claims and providing a rough overview and timeline of the proposed project.

Approved by regional council in July of 2020, much to the surprise of most local councillors, the 50-unit facility at the centre of the suit would be located on the grounds of Lakeview Manor in Beaverton.

The primary concerns raised thus far have involved the current lack of social services, healthcare and transportation in the community.

In November, township council passed the interim control bylaw. Since then, negotiations between the Region and Township have continued, including a recent hearing at the Ontario Land Tribunal.

The Brock Voice has asked the Township and Region for comment and will provide an update as soon as possible.

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