Council to vote on East Flat residential care home application at Monday meeting

Prince Albert City Hall -- Herald File Photo

Prince Albert City Council will vote on a Discretionary Use Development Permit Application for a proposed Residential Care Home in the East Flat when they meet at the next city council meeting on Monday.

Insight Therapy Ltd. has submitted an application to run a home for six children under the age of 10. The home is intended as an emergency placement home to support the Montreal Lake Child and Family Agency. City administrators have recommended the project be approved.

“As you are well aware, Prince Albert faces significant challenges related to addiction, homelessness, and poverty, all of which profoundly affect local families and communities,” reads a letter to council from Insight Therapy Ltd.’s Salah Sherwan.

“This endeavor seeks to address the urgent need for stable and secure housing options for children residing within our city.”

If approved, the care home will be located at 952 First Street East. Sherwan will personally oversee the operation, with assistance from two other staff members.

Sherwan wrote that the facility would be staffed by professionals providing around-the-clock care, including counselling, educational support, recreational activities, comprehensive healthcare, and other vital services.

“We firmly believe that establishing this group residence will provide the essential support and stability required by children who have endured the trauma of addiction in their own homes,” Sherwan wrote. “Simultaneously, it will contribute to addressing some of the paramount challenges that Prince Albert faces.”

The City issued a public notice on Sept. 22 to property owners within 75 meters of 952 First Street East about the proposed development. Administration received two letters of opposition, both of which were included in the agenda package for Monday’s meeting.

Both letter writers argued that there is already one group home in the area. They also cited crime and unwanted visitors as concerns.

“I worry about all those children clashing in the neighbourhood and causing unfair stress to everyone in (the) surrounding area,” reads one letter. “I write in strongly requesting you to deny the approval of this group home opening up.”

In his own letter to council, Sherwan wrote that they are aware the community may have concerns about introducing a group home into the area, but are committed to working with local residents to address them.

“The chosen property will be securely fenced, and as the children are all under the age of 10, the likelihood of them causing damage or attracting unwanted visitors to the neighborhood is minimal,” Sherwan wrote. “We are committed to close collaboration with both the local community and the tenants to ensure that the residence becomes a positive addition to the neighborhood and does not disrupt the existing fabric.”

The property is a corner lot in a residential area, and comes with a garage and parking facility that can accommodate up to four vehicles. Sherwan added that they planned to lease a 12-passenger van from the property owner to cut down on the amount of traffic.

The Insight Therapy application is one of six reports from administration and committees up for debate at Monday’s meeting. The agenda also includes a public hearing on Bylaw No. 17 of 2023, which proposes several amendments to the land use maps in the Prince Albert Planning District Official Community Plan 2018.

There are also two councillor motions. The first, from Coun. Tony Head, asks administration to provide the cost of the ongoing CUPE 882 strike. The second, from Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick, asks administration to work with the Legion and ANAVETS on naming one park and two green spaces after veterans.

Monday’s meeting starts at 5 p.m. on Oct. 16 at Prince Albert City Hall.