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'We've lost our peace of mind!': Neighbours of David Busby Centre fed up
For months the residents living beside the David Busby Shelter in Barrie have complained, claiming their safety is at risk.
They say they can't use their backyards because of the people who use the centre.
It's a contentious issue that has formed a deep divide between the downtown residents and the centre that supports the city's most vulnerable people.
Officials with the Busby Centre plan to put up an outdoor amenity space in the parking lot behind the facility.
"Community is about solution, so if we bring both sides together, there is a solution in there," Busby Centre executive director, Sara Peddle says.
"We've lost our peace of mind," claims homeowner Neil Little. "We are unable to raise our children here."
Back in the spring, more than 60 residents signed a petition asking the centre to build a fence.
City councillors voted against that plan after staff with the Busby Centre said it might push more people into the street, which is a real safety concern.
"You have someone that could be in an escalated state, to get them through a fence that has a gate, could be a huge challenge," Peddle says.
At a meeting held this week, neighbours, centre staff, and local councillors came up with a solution.
The plan is to utilize the centre's back parking lot by replacing six parking spots with an area that will include picnic tables and a fence - built between the back parking lot and the adjacent house. A cedar hedge might also be put beside the centre on MacDonald Street.
"When they're outside, they'll have a space that's dignified, that's clean, and that will, hopefully, address some of the neighbour's concerns," Barrie Councillor Keenan Aylwin says.
This solution is a temporary one, and if it doesn't work, it'll be back to the drawing board for both parties.
The staff at the centre have also asked the city for six parking passes if they lose those six parking spots. Councillors would have to approve that request.