A little over a week after Crystal Beach Lakeview (CBL) learned that the City intended to negotiate a lease for 1 Corkstown Road to use the empty building as transitional housing for homeless families, the item went before the Finance Committee on Tuesday, November 7, and then before Council on Wednesday November 8. It passed at both meetings.
The relevant item on the agenda for the Finance Committee meeting reads as follows.
“6.3 Acquisition Lease – Transitional Housing for Families
File No.: ACS2023-PRE-CRO-0029 – Bay (Ward 7)
That the Finance and Corporate Services Committee recommends that City Council:
- Delegate authority to the General Manager, Planning, Real Estate, and Economic Development to negotiate, enter into, conclude, execute, amend, and implement a Lease Agreement for the facility in accordance with the terms of this report and that conforms to the business parameters outlined in Document 1.
- That Council consider the matter at the City Council meeting on November 8,2023.”
(Note: Document 1 probably contains business details that only Finance committee can see in camera.)
In the recording of the Finance Committee meeting, the section on 1 Corkstown Road runs approximately from 4:31 to 5:53. Two residents spoke in favour of staff negotiating the lease and one written submission opposed it. (CBLCA knows of one; there may have been more.) Councillor Kavanagh asked what questions the community might have and posed them to staff.
In any case, agenda item 6.3 passed. So, what this means for CBL is that the matter, basically, is out of our hands and will be a City Hall, not a community, decision. We should find out early in the new year whether City staff will, in fact, “enter into,” and “implement a Lease Agreement for the facility.”
With no time to find a consensus in the community, and a wide range of opinions voiced both at Theresa Kavanagh’s information meeting and on Facebook, (although, interestingly, not to the community association directly,) the Crystal Beach Lakeview Community Association did not take an official position.
We do not know if we will have these new neighbours. If we do, we should consider how to integrate them into the community successfully and happily. Surely, we will be able to ask questions and share suggestions with City staff through our councillor. For example, we can request a guarantee that the usage will be only transitional family housing.
We’ll talk amongst ourselves, but do not assume that we will have an opportunity to overturn the City staff deal—and, indeed, many residents think that using the empty building to house desperate families is the right and kind thing to do. In any case, the community association encourages neighbours to engage with one another respectfully, and to express their views pro, con, and in the middle politely and constructively.