Hope House Location Denied

Staff's report says while there was significant private sector and community agency support for the Hope House project, there had been people in the community who were opposed to its location and the use of the facilities.

WOODSTOCK - The proposed location for the main facility of Hope House Oxford was rejected by Oxford County council.

The location was to be at the corner of Light and Buller Street.

Resident Winter Smith says while the model is redundant, a collaboration among Hope House and community partners could be a solution.

"Why not get together with everybody and talk? Maybe they could create some jobs, for those job placements that they would have given to there, whether it goes through or not. Maybe they can create jobs, maybe they can create sort of a hub model that is a link between all of the community partners and that's all it does. Rather than try to offer services that we already have, maybe they go lower, they spend a heck of a lot less money and then they give that money to other community partners that are struggling."

Smith was one of the delegates present at yesterday's meeting who voiced their concerns on the location of the project.

She adds she attended council's meeting so she could be heard.

Staff's report says while there was significant private sector and community agency support for the project, there had been people in the community who were opposed to its location and the use of the facilities, both of which are owned by the County.

Despite being turned down, organizer Shawn Shapton says he is looking forward to the future.

"We weren't surprised with today's recommendation, but that being said we also have to recognize the problem is still occurring. As Mr.(Paul) Beaton said perhaps there is a way we can work together and find a solution going forward. We heard loud and clear that location is not what they want for Hope House and we understand that, so the next steps moving forward will be to see is there another suitable location and how can we make this a good fit in our community with the existing services that are happening right now."

Shapton says they could explore the possibility of partnering with other local organizations to provide different services. He adds they look forward to collaborating with all agencies, should they be a suitable fit.

The proposed location was the former Children's Aid building on the corner of Light and Buller Street, which is 18,000 square feet. They also looked at a temporary site on Graham Street, which was the former Land Registry building.

Shapton appeared before council in July where he gave a presentation on Hope House. Concerns from the public and local services followed, which saw multiple people give delegations at yesterday's meeting and last week's city council meeting.

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