This thought has been percolating in my head since early February when I attended Ontario Speaker / Brant MPP Dave Levac’s consultation / open house on bringing a residential detoxification-rehabilitation facility to Brantford. Suitably backburnered, it came up again this week as the Downtown Brantford Business Improvement Area (BIA) has asked council to look into what it might do to move the Victoria Park Clinic.
For those not in the know, the clinic is a privately operated methadone clinic running out of a portion of St. Andrew’s Church on Darling Street in this city’s downtown.
Considered separately or together, this has very, very good potential to be a the city’s largest “NIMBY” fest ever. I can picture it now— legions of people screaming at the top of their lungs they believe these services are so desperately needed in Brantford, but not near their slice of the city.
The downtown merchants, for a variety of reasons not completely related to the clientele, don’t want the meth clinic in their neighbourhood. They’re asking to move it out of the downtown and for the planning rules to change to keep anyone else from setting up a new one downtown.
At Monday’s community development committee meeting, there were already grumblings from Ward 5 councillors about the relocation of certain undesirable activities that used to take place in the downtown to East Ward and Eagle Place neighbourhoods.
Yet we’re Beautiful Brantford! Big city vibe, small town feel! A caring community!
In that vein, what would impress me is to see a community of people in this city stand up and proudly say, “We believe in the importance of these services and we’d like to see them in our neighbourhood. Here’s what we propose to create the appropriate space.”
That would be a true test of our compassion, our understanding and our humanity. I have my doubts there are enough people who think like this in Brantford, but I could stand to be pleasantly surprised.