Fredericton homeowners concerned about problems that have arisen since homeless shelter was set up
FREDERICTON -- Homeowners in one part of Fredericton are drawing attention to recent problems in their neighbourhood.
They've complained of drug paraphernalia and lewd acts that began when a warming centre for the city's homeless set up nearby.
While they recognize the need to support homeless people, they want an end to what they call unacceptable behaviour.
It's a tale of two sides of the fence: on one side, the Phoenix Learning Centre and on the other, the neighbourhood subdivision.
The Phoenix Learning Centre is where Fredericton's homeless population can spend their days inside to keep warm.
"The community when they bring their thoughts and their worries to us, we act," said Scott Earle of the Phoenix Learning Centre. "Does it happen immediately? No, because we have to get a lot of people involved. We want to be sure being here as part of the community that we fit in."
Neighbourhood residents are cautiously voicing their concerns about incidents arising since the centre opened.
They want to make one thing clear, they want supports in place for the homeless population, but they have safety concerns when it comes in incidents in their backyards.
"I know the facility has been doing its best, however, in the past five months the neighbourhood has experienced thefts, multiple break-ins of children's play houses, discarded needles on neighbouring properties, public urination and hard drug use in public view," said Jordan Lutes, a neighbourhood resident.
Earle says to mitigate issues they've heard from the community, they have brought in a security guard, porta-potties, and plan to build a fence around the property to prevent backyard foot traffic.
"For me, it's making sure the community knows that we're being proactive," Earle said. "It's new, so we're learning as we go."
Letters for and against the centre to remain in the subdivision have been delivered to council.
Issues with the centre's zoning have also arisen, and will be reviewed at a planning committee meeting on March 17.
John MacDermid is the Ward 10 councillor for the Sunshine Gardens subdivision and a member of the planning committee.
"Really, what's in consideration is what the developer asking for appropriate for the site? Does it meet municipal plan guidance?" MacDermid said. "Obviously it's not necessarily going to meet zoning guidance, does it fit into the context of a neighbourhood or community?"
The planning committee would bring their findings to council.
"If it goes through, we've got a plan in place with the city of what we want to do with the land and property to go forward if it doesn't go through it's not going to close but we may have to adjust or relocate."
Results of the zoning considerations will be released after the March 17 meeting.