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N.S. community services minister says plans for Pallet shelters for Whitney Pier moving forward

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Nova Scotia’s Minister of Community Services Trevor Boudreau said Thursday the location of a controversial pallet shelter community slated for Whitney Pier, N.S., will be moving forward as planned.

“What are available lands that meet those dignity standards, what lands have the ability to move quickly on, this was the identified piece of land, and this is the parcel of land where we've had conversations with CBRM,” said Boudreau

Boudreau says the province is sticking to their plan to set up pallet shelters in Whitney Pier, despite residents who are fearful their neighbourhood will be impacted negatively.

“I've had conversations with the mayor, I’ve had conversations with the councillor, I had conversations with the service providers. They recognize supporting individuals living rough and we are going to continue to have conversation with community,” said Boudreau.

A meeting with Nova Scotia Department of Community Services and a local group backing the proposal, New Dawn Enterprises, is scheduled to take place on February 5 at the Ukrainian Hall in Whitney Pier.

It's a conversation some say should've been had before a decision was made on the location.

“We don't want this in our neighbourhood. We want answers,” said Tammy Starkey, a Whitney Pier resident

Cape Breton Transition House executive director Jodi McDavid sees the need first hand, and feels the pallet shelters will have a positive impact.

“One of the things that's been shown in a lot of locations across Canada is providing people with housing actually means the population is there, services can go there, people are happy to be housed and it really reduces a lot of the issues people are concerned about,” she said.

The province says their plan is to provide shelter quickly.

“The challenge is this is new and we're looking at this in an urgent matter and moving it forward as quick as we can,” said Boudreau.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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