Council should reverse Duncan Manor decision
Approaching Christmas, by unanimous decision, council made an unsupportable political decision, contrary to expert advice offered by staff. Council denied the potential of reasonable housing for vulnerable seniors and other disadvantaged residents. Some councillors justified this decision with the fabrication that the redevelopment of Duncan Manor would reduce parkland. In reality, the land swap would have expanded Centennial Park. As well, the lawn bowling facilities, now partially owned by Duncan Manor, would have become exclusively public land.
Some of us drive in our vehicles costing tens of thousands of dollars to our homes valued in the hundreds of thousands, to toast the New Year with bubbly. We pass homeless people shivering in doorways, wrapped in damp clothing and cardboard. Councillors have put more people at risk of this by denying the opportunity for basic housing for the vulnerable. I suggest that those opposing the Duncan Manor redevelopment, including councillors, swap accommodation with those in showerless, kitchenless, “hostel” rooms at Duncan Manor.
Councillors say that the city has a responsibility to assist in finding land in Duncan for a new Manor. Good luck. Elderly or disabled residents of Duncan Manor need to be within walking distance on flat land to amenities such as economical grocery shopping without crossing the dangerous TCH. Residential land with those characteristics, west of TCH and north of Trunk Road is fully developed. Councillors who have opposed expert advice to support both expansion of Centennial Park and enhanced social housing are unlikely to agree to destroy single family dwellings and face the NIMBYism in other neighbourhoods.
But not all is lost. Responsible politicians understand that there is nothing shameful in reconsidering a decision. Instead, reflection and reconsideration demonstrate the strength and courage of a person. Duncan city councillors retain the opportunity to make the right decision for Centennial Park, for vulnerable residents, and for demonstrating that Duncan is a compassionate community by reversing this decision.