The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville offices. (Supplied by leedsgrenville.com)
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for housing is being invested in North Grenville, but other local figures have concerns.
At a Leeds and Grenville Joint Services Committee meeting on October 5th, Prescott Mayor Brett Todd expressed some concerns surrounding the Committee’s plan to invest 1.1 million dollars in provincial funding towards addressing homelessness in North Grenville. The Committee, which represents thirteen municipalities including Prescott, North Grenville and Brockville, decided to spend the money in North Grenville at the recommendation of Alison Tutak, the Leeds and Grenville Director of Community and Social Services. Tutak presented a report to the Committee before the meeting, explaining the initiative and saying that multiple properties have been found in North Grenville with “great potential” for housing projects.
Mayor Todd says he feels the report is too vague, and doesn’t offer enough background information on the community’s housing struggles. “There’s no firm answers on the need,” Todd says, “there’s no firm answers, even, on what these projects entail in North Grenville. It’s essentially just, ‘hey, we’ve got some great proposals in North Grenville, commit the money to us and we’ll get back to you with the details later.’”
Todd also says that he feels Brockville may have a greater need for the funding than North Grenville. “I’m in Brockville more than I’m in Kemptville,” Todd says, “but I do see the need in Brockville. I think we’ve all seen the need that has been in and around Brockville in recent years, and whether it’s a regional concern or not, I think you’ve gotta dedicate the dollars to solving the problem, if the problem exists.”
North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford says that any projects worked on in North Grenville will be for more than just homeless people in Kemptville. “Homelessness takes many forms,” says Peckford, “and peoples’ need for supportive housing takes many forms, and if we are to proceed with something in North Grenville, I see it as enhancing regional capacity to receive people, and not necessarily always centralize them in one location.”
“I know that some of the circumstances in Brockville are because people gravitate there for other reasons,” Peckford continues, “so North Grenville is obviously signalling a want, an appetite.”
The Committee ultimately voted unanimously to invest the 1.1 million dollars into North Grenville. Additionally, another 450 thousand dollars are being put towards converting an old Brockville church into low-cost housing.