Weyburn City Council struck down a motion to allow a care home in the Creeks subdivision last night after receiving several complaints from area residents.
Councillor Brad Wheeler lives in the Creeks and spoke out against allowing the Saskatchewan Housing Authority to build a care home for four adults, who may have a physical or mental disability. He explained that he has spoken to 12 of the 15 homeowners in the area where the single-family home containing the care home would be built on DeLaet Drive and said their main concerns were declining property values, safety, and an increase in traffic.
"The people that built there built there under the understanding that it wasn't an exclusive neighborhood but it was the closest thing to Weyburn. There's architectural controls. And most of them built their lifetime homes or moved into their retirement homes there. I think the average price of the houses in that area would probably be north of $700,000, which isn't really relevant but when they made their plans there was no discussion of group homes in the area and if there would have been they may have changed their plans and relocated to a different area, especially the people directly across the street from where this lot is located."
Some letters from concerned residents on DeLaet Drive stated that they were not opposed to having the care home in the neighbourhood itself, but did not wish to be directly beside it or across from it, feeling they had lost all choice in the matter since their houses were already built.
"This particular lot, it just doesn't fit," Wheeler stated. "It kind of dashes the dreams and hopes of the people that live there currently. It will probably impede the development of that immediate area going forward. I know it's not politically correct to say there's a stigma attached to them but there is, you have to be honest with yourself. I feel bad that that's the case but these people have invested a lot of money into their dream homes, into their retirement homes, and to have the provincial government come in and to pick a lot directly across from them I don't think that was the best choice."
The application stated the care home would be operated by the Weyburn Group Homes Society, providing staff for 24-hour supervision. The proposed house met all the requirements of the Residential Detached (R1) zoning bylaw.
Councillor Dick Michel requested an opportunity to learn more about the care home from the developers before voting. The motion to delay the vote was defeated, however, and the voting took place. There were zero votes in favour of the permit. Councillors Brad Wheeler, Winston Bailey, Jeff Chessall, and Mayor Marcel Roy voted against the motion to approve the building of the care home on DeLaet Drive, citing that it was a discretionary use application and since the neighbourhood opposed it they would respect their position. Councillor Mel Van Betuw excused himself from the vote and Councillor Jeff Richards was not present at the meeting.
The developers will have to find a new location to build the care home and make another application to the City for approval.
A link to the council agenda with the care home plans and letters of objection can be found HERE.