Township, Region reach deal on Beaverton supportive housing proposal

Brock Township and Durham Region have reached an agreement over a proposed supportive housing facility in Beaverton.

A 13-page Minutes of Settlement (see below) outlines the obligations of both parties as the project moves forward in the coming months.

In addition to quashing its Interim Control Bylaw that temporarily delayed the process, the Township is required to execute a site plan agreement once conditions are met in addition to processing and issuing a building permit “without undue delay.”

For its part, the Region will drop all legal challenges against the Township, including a Superior Court case that was to be heard in February of next year.

Other commitments made by the Region include phased tenancy, occupancy limits of one person per unit, on-site security for at least one year, video surveillance on the exterior of the building and indoor common areas, a framework on staffing levels (a minimum of ratio of 1:10) and the provision of some community services.

“This project will also include a new service hub for North Durham – providing access to support services, including mental health and addictions support; medical care (virtual and/or on-site); financial assistance; rental and tenant support; life skills teaching/counselling; and addictions counselling,” reads a media release from the Region.

Thirty units at the facility will be filled from Durham’s By-Name List – people known to be experiencing homelessness – with the remaining 17 will be filled with residents not from the By-Name List but who require the supports provided at the site. Preference will be given to existing North Durham residents.

“The intake process will give priority to those residing in or who have previously resided in North Durham including Brock Township, Uxbridge Township and Scugog Township,” the Minutes of Settlement reads.

The Region will also advocate for a full-time police officer in Beaverton (or alternatives to enhance policing in the township) and will assist efforts to recruit a permanent doctor for Beaverton in conjunction with Lakeridge Health.

“The Region will support efforts led by the Township for family physician recruitment in the community of Beaverton through various methods that include the provision of space and services in kind into this effort,” the Minutes of Settlement reads.

Should those efforts not prove successful in two years, the Region will contribute up to $100,000 towards doctor recruitment.

While an agreement has been reached, a media release notes that the Township remains “somewhat concerned” with the size of the project.

“However, we remain hopeful that with the changes the Region has made, based on the input from all sources, that the supportive housing project will be a success,” the media release reads.

It thanks members of Beaverton Vision for their time investigating and consulting with experts in multiple fields about the project.

“This work helped form our position on the project, identified services we wanted as part of the operation and specifics around best practices which the Region has incorporated into their plans. We also thank the community of Beaverton, the 2,000 residents who signed the petition against the project and the rest of our residents in Brock Township for their support during these past twelve months,” the media release reads.

“We believe that the determined efforts of the Township have resulted in a better project, and we will continue to represent our residents to the best of our ability. The Township will continue to work with the Region of Durham to ensure the Region performs its mandated services of providing supportive housing and social services.”

A media release from the Region took a more celebratory tone.

“We are very pleased with the agreement made with the Township of Brock and look forward to continued collaboration as we move forward with the Beaverton Supportive Housing Project. This modular housing development will help address an urgent need in north Durham and we are excited to proceed with this project,” said Durham Region CAO Elaine Baxter-Trahair.

“This project will make a positive impact by setting vulnerable residents up for success through housing and access to the services and supports they need. It will also bring much-needed services to all north Durham residents through the service hub. I look forward to this important resource being available to residents soon,” added Stella Danos-Papaconstantinou, the Region’s commissioner of social services.

Click to access Fully-Executed-MOS-BSH.pdf

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