Reaction to Weyburn City Council’s decision to reject the discretionary use application for a care home in the Creeks subdivision continues to come in from all quarters.
Wednesday morning, city councillor Jeff Chessall issued a written release in which he said he made a mistake in not voting to table the motion, to allow more time to receive more information from the Weyburn group Home Society and Saskatchewan Housing Corporation. He added he feels the bylaws around discretionary use need to be reviewed, and he would like to have more discussions with the two organizations behind the care home project.
The chair of the board of the Weyburn Group Home Society also added his voice to the conversation.
Rod Stafford said he was disappointed by the decision made by City Council Monday night.
He pointed to the correspondence received from the residents of the neighbourhood after they were asked to provide their feedback to the application. In response, the city received seven letters.
“Of the identified correspondence back to council, there was one clear no, which we respect, four residents clearly asked for more time and more information to consider the implications, and then two, what I call anonymous letters purporting to be signed from residents of the Creeks subdivision, were very negative in terms of approving the plan, and it appears in the absence of any objective, credible information who these residents of The Creeks subdivision were, council based their decision on that, and ended up defeating the motion,” Stafford said.
He did acknowledge there could have been situations where the writers of the letter were unable to identify themselves, but Councillor Brad Wheeler, who resides in the neighbourhood and spoke to those in the neighbourhood about the issue, he could have at least articulated how many of the residents he spoke with who asked that their names not become public knowledge.
“From my perspective, it was a letter that was barely worth the paper it was written on in terms of forming public opinion and public policy,” Stafford said.
“I know that our executive director did hold meetings with a number of the residents of The Creeks, and I understand that the meeting was generally well received, so the pushback that actually came as a result of the comments by the council and some of the correspondence received was very much a surprise to us.”
Stafford said if council chooses to re-open the issue, they are willing to be engaged in the discussion. He added the Society appreciates the relationship they have with the community, and with City Council.
You can listen to the complete interview with Rod Stafford from the Weyburn Group Home Society below:
Brad and Miranda Spencer are residents of the Creeks. In an email to Discover Weyburn, Brad stated he wasn't aware of the letter sent on behalf of the 'Residents of The Creeks'. Miranda wrote one of the four signed letters which asked City Council for more time to research the situation and look into all of the information. Four of the five letters which were signed also came from residents who live across from the proposed site.
In his email, Brad Spencer pointed out his research into the argument about property values showed there was no evidence the values would decrease with a care home being built in the neighbourhood. He also said he felt the overall situation has painted the city of Weyburn in a bad light.
As the situation unfolded, Spencer talked with his children and told Discover Weyburn the residents of a care home as just as much right to live in the community as he does. He also said those who are the most undeserving and unfortunate in the situation are those who would be residents of the care home.
"I guess if anything good comes of this, it is the discussion around the subject of those with mental and physical disabilities, as with so many subjects it seems that need illumination in this day and age," Spencer concluded his emails.