DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
BROCK: The Township of Brock is hopeful they can repair their relationship with Durham Region Non-Profit Housing Corporation (DRNPH), while working with them to fix issues alleged to be occurring at Allan’s Place.
At a meeting on Monday, May 10th, following a closed session discussion, several councillors commented on the township’s current relationship with the housing corporation and the current situation at Cannington’s Allan’s Place.
“I’m not here to deny the fact there have been some issues [at Allan’s Place]. There have been. What I want to stress is, Allan’s Place opened under extremely difficult circumstances,” Regional Councillor Ted Smith said, “that being [COVID-19], and the fact there was no opportunity for the public to go visit Allan’s Place, get to know their neighbours that way, have a tour of the place, or come away with any positive feelings regarding it at all. That just couldn’t happen.”
Councillor Smith called Allan’s Place “a great facility,” and said Durham Region Non-Profit Housing would have had difficulties dealing with certain issues in this pandemic.
“Due to provincial regulations, there was no opportunity for anyone to be evicted,” Councillor Smith explained.
The Regional Councillor called for more respectful discussions over issues going forward.
“I think we need to be more careful and more respectful,” he said.
Councillor Smith speculated if things worsen, DRNPH could move out of Brock Township.
“Durham Region Non-Profit Housing could say ‘okay,’ Brock Township, if you don’t trust us or don’t appreciate the fact we are providing housing in this [location] and four other locations, maybe we’ll divest, sell those facilities into the private sector.”
Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell was also concerned about the township’s relationship with this housing organization.
“There are occasional problems anywhere where there is communal living,” Councillor Campbell stated.
She added, she values “the relationship Brock Township has with Durham [Region] Non-Profit Housing,” and she “hate[s] to see it damaged.”
“I call for repairing our relationship going forward in the future,” Councillor Campbell said.
However, Ward 3 Councillor Walter Schummer took a different approach to his comments.
“I don’t doubt staff members at Durham Region Non-Profit Housing could be feeling a little less than respected. I don’t doubt that any more than I feel there are residents at Allan’s Place feeling a little less than respected. Friends can disagree. Friends can argue. It’s the strength of that relationship, that friendship which dictates just how open you can be with your friends and your colleagues. We’re not always going to agree on issues. We are going to react to constituents. It is healthy in a democracy that tak[ing] place.”
At a late April meeting, Councillor Schummer raised concerns about alleged safety issues happening at the 50-unit residence building, for seniors and people with disabilities.
“The seniors at Allan’s Place continue to be terrorized, and that is their word [to describe it], not mine. It is happening by a handful of residents who moved there, who are not seniors, but no doubt suffer from substance abuse, mental health issues and possibly just a blatant disregard for their neighbours and the community they live in. Police calls are constant, and they continue,” Councillor Schummer said at the April council meeting.
However, Durham Region Non-Profit Housing CEO Tracy Greig panned the councillor’s comments and said DRNPH is working with the township and the councillor to clarify the issues raised.
“We feel some of Councillor Schummer’s comments were erroneous and misleading. We’re attempting to work with Councillor Schummer and the Township of Brock to clarify this at this time,” she said.