Controversial Oakwood Village homeless shelter clears committee

A city committee has approved a controversial plan to relocate a 50-bed homeless shelter to Oakwood Village.

Plan to re-locate 50-bed mens shelter will go to council later this month

A proposal to relocate the Cornerstone Place men's shelter to this location near 616 Vaughan Rd. has drawn opposition from local residents. (Google)

A city committee has approved a controversial plan to relocate a 50-bed homeless shelter to Oakwood Village.

The plan, which would allow Cornerstone Place to move from its former location 833 St. Clair Ave. W. to 616 Vaughan Rd. near Oakwood, will now go to council for final approval later this month.

The shelter serving homeless men had operated on St. Clair West for 14 years but a recent property sale created a need for a new location.

Residents who spoke against the plan Thursday cited a variety of reasons for their opposition. Many argued the proposed location is a poor site for the shelter because the area has recently struggled with illegal booze cans, drug activity and prostitution. They expressed fears that adding a homeless shelter would put its clients in harm's way and allow criminal activity to return to the area.

Andrew Ross, chair of the Oakwood Village Community Association, spoke about the proposal on Metro Morning Thursday and said the area lacks support services for the homeless.

But not everyone who lives in Oakwood Village is opposed to the plan.

Sue Sneyd is a member of the group she calls "Yes in my Backyard." In an interview on Metro Morning Friday, she argued that blocking the shelter's move would set a bad precedent for the city.

"If the proposal is denied, how could a shelter get approved anywhere else in this city? We welcome these new members to our neighbourhood," she told host Matt Galloway.

"I have two kids and I want them to understand that a great neighbourhood is made up of vibrancy, of differences."

A conditional offer by Cornerstone Place to buy the Vaughan Road property expires Aug. 29.

City council's final meeting is set for Aug. 25. At Thursday's committee meeting, shelter managers expressed fears that council would not have time to vote on the shelter relocation ahead of the Aug. 29 deadline.

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