Damage from suspicious fire at target site for Indigenous-led winter shelter in London, Ont., estimated at $1M

A spokesperson with the London Police Service said a fire Sunday at the River Road Golf Course, a potential site for the Indigenous-led winter shelter, has been deemed suspicious.

The fire at River Road Golf Course was first reported at 8 a.m. Sunday

A Sunday morning fire at the River Road Golf Course in London, Ont., has been deemed suspicious by police. The golf course is slated as a possible site for an Indigenous-led winter shelter, but that may now be in jeopardy. (Angela McInnes/CBC)

A Sunday morning fire at the River Road Golf Course is being deemed suspicious by London, Ont., police and could jeopardize plans for an Indigenous-led winter shelter scheduled to open in December.

Damages are estimated at $1 million, Colin Shewell, platoon chief with the London Fire Department, said Monday morning. 

No one was injured.

He said the blaze ripped through the clubhouse, which is where meals were going to be prepared for residents staying at the new shelter space. 

"The rear of the building was burned extensively and made its way inside of the building." 

Shewell said the mobile trailers set up as individual rooms had been recently brought to the site and weren't affected. 

Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal was expected to visit the east London golf course Monday with police helping with the investigation.

A fire department spokesperson estimated damage from the fire at about $1 million. (James Chaarani/CBC)

On Nov. 16, city council is set to decide the fate of the proposed shelter. The proposal was endorsed by the city's community and protective services committee on Nov. 2.

Andrew Sercombe, the city's media relations manager, told CBC News that it's evaluating its next steps. 

If approved, the plan had been to accommodate 30 residents from Dec. 1 to March 31, 2022. 

The group that was to run the shelter, Atlohsa Family Healing Services, has not yet been reached for comment.

With files from Max Leighton