By Tim Kalinowski on December 9, 2020.
Lakeview resident and Lethbridge Lakeview Community group member Allan Jarvie says his group is not opposed to The Mustard Seed providing supportive housing for the city’s homeless community, but is opposed to the organization operating such a housing facility in its neighbourhood.
“We feel the Ramada location is absolutely wrong,” he says, “and we’re not sure there is that much demand. They say they are going to turn it into 86 residences. That puts a strain on the immediate neighbourhood.”
The Mustard Seed is seeking to purchase and rezone the current Ramada location at 1303 Mayor Magrath Drive South to operate an 86-unit, sober, permanent supportive housing facility with wraparound services to serve a portion of the estimated 400 individuals in the community who require permanent supportive housing. The Mustard Seed is also proposing a separate drop-in centre which would be open 24/7 at a yet to be announced downtown location.
Lethbridge Lakeview Community is sponsoring a petition at Change.org to stop the Ramada rezoning. Jarvie says he and others in his neighbourhood are not convinced The Mustard Seed will be able to live up to its promises regarding the proposed facility.
“It hasn’t been explained to us the people who would be staying at the Ramada location have gone through treatment and so on,” says Jarvie. “There are too many variables there. They say they are going to have security and so on at the site so that people coming to visit and so on would be asked if they are bringing drugs and alcohol, and what have you. But that’s pretty much impossible to manage — if drugs are getting into our penitentiary system how do they think they are going to keep drugs out of this building? It’s virtually impossible. Once it’s rezoned, that opens a whole can of worms.”
Jarvie also states his neighbourhood currently enjoys a good quality of life, higher property values and a low crime rate compared to other areas of the city. He and others are concerned all those things will be negatively impacted if the housing facility is established near the neighbourhood.
“Of my 66 years of life, I have spent 60 in this neighbourhood,” he explains. “My dad and a few other contractors started to build this neighbourhood in the early 1950s, and it has been a great neighbourhood. My children went to Lakeview School. I and a few others got involved with the PAC at Lakeview School, and all the trees you see along Henderson Lake Boulevard our PAC put in. As well as the playground rejuvenation a number of years ago É All of this has been done by people who wanted to live in this neighbourhood because of the quality of life.”
He is worried that the Mustard Seed facility will become, in his words, “a huge fiasco, and totally destroy that neighbourhood.”
Jarvie hopes city council would think twice before it approves any rezoning of the currently proposed location.
“There has been other mistakes made within this city that have come back to haunt the residents and businesses, and so on,” he says. “Let’s not repeat the same mistakes. Let’s think about this a lot harder, and put this residential component in a better suited place that’s not immediately adjacent or within a residential area.”
Jarvie does not offer any suggestions as to where such a better location might be, but he challenges all those who own properties in other areas of the city to look in the mirror before dismissing his group’s concerns.
“I would like people to sit back and look in the mirror, and think about their own neighbourhood,” he says. “If they are opposing what we are doing, would they like this type of development within their neighbourhood? They should take a very hard look at themselves, and what they would do in the same situation.”
To view the group’s Change.org petition visit the website at https://www.change.org/p/lethbridge-mayor-vote-no-to-the-rezoning-of-the-lethbridge-ramada-hotel-and-chinook-motel-on-mayor-magrath
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