BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at email@example.com. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to a story titled 'MPP's office surveying neighbourhood residents for thoughts on SCS proposal' published on Oct. 29. A supervised consumption site (SCS), alternately known as Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) by the province, has been proposed for 11 Innisfil St., in Barrie.
As community members living in the direct vicinity of 11 Innisfil St., we welcome Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MPP Doug Downey’s recent survey of local residents. This survey was short and simple. It gathers our feedback on the community consultation that was to take place as part of the CTS/SCS application process.
Many of us have previously raised concerns with our MPP. We appreciate that he reached out to our entire neighbourhood to better understand the situation in our area.
The consultation by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) consisted of four virtual neighbourhood sessions within a short span of two weeks. During a pandemic. It had three changes to the address location in the media: From 80 Bradford St., to 19 Innisfil St., to 11 Innisfil St.
At one neighbourhood meeting, concerns were raised about the proximity to a daycare across the street, where children come and go to school. Yet, the official report produced does not include these concerns. Why?
The official summary report provided by Optimus SBR also references a concern raised that there is no free parking. This only applies to the address of 80 Bradford St. — 80 Bradford St. is the location that has paid parking only. The address at 11 Innisfil does have free parking, right outside the door. Yet, this is still included in the official report.
How credible is this consultation data? Is the information included correct? Was a comprehensive consultation conducted with the people who live or own businesses in the neighbourhood?
The data gained from MPP Downey’s quantified neighbourhood survey, which includes resident addresses, will truly reflect local resident views and concerns. This survey will ensure the government receives fulsome community feedback, alongside the application.
As community consultation is a requirement of the application, would this not give the province a better understanding of our community and its needs? Would it not further provide credible data and information to allow the province to make an informed decision?
Rushing through a key part of the application process, during a pandemic, cannot be allowed to supersede democratic process. Why have rules and steps to follow if they can be circumvented by those entrusted to uphold them?
Is the community consultation the only area in which the process was remiss? Were other steps not followed carefully? Is there other data included that may be inaccurate when relating to the 11 Innisfil location?
If this is possible, might not the province be hard pressed to approve this application?
As many of us know, in order to receive approval for government funding in any stream, all I’s must be dotted and T’s crossed. If the application fails, the process to approval of a local site will take even longer.
We look forward to hearing MPP Downey’s survey results. Thank you.