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Durham Region to take Brock to court regarding housing project delay

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

BROCK: The Region of Durham is taking the Township of Brock to court over the dispute regarding the Beaverton supportive housing project. In a recent press release, the Township advised residents the Region “served the Township of Brock with an Ontario Superior Court of Justice application” last month in order to “quash Interim Control By-law 2994-2020.”

In November, Brock Township councillors voted to pass an interim control bylaw, “to prohibit the establishment of Supportive Housing and Modular Construction, including Manufactured Dwelling Houses, for a period of twelve months, in order to allow for the appropriate completion of further research and consultation.”

In an emailed statement to The Standard, Region of Durham CAO, Elaine Baxter-Trahair explained why the Region took this action. “There is an urgent need for supportive housing, which was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, 334 clients in North Durham who were homeless or at-risk of homelessness accessed supports. The Regional Municipality of Durham remains committed to moving this project forward, to support residents in our three North Durham municipalities. We are following the legal process to challenge the Township of Brock’s decision to prevent it. Prior to filing the lawsuit, the Region met with Council: to help answer questions; formed a liaison group which included residents, to help shape and provide input into the process; held community meetings; and shared information online in hopes of working collaboratively on this project. However, the health and well-being of residents waiting for supportive housing is at stake, and while efforts continue to reach a resolution with the Township of Brock, we must continue with legal action to move this project forward. This development will be located between Gillespie Gardens, a housing complex owned and operated by Durham Region Non-Profit Housing Corporation, and Lakeview Manor, a long-term care home owned and operated by the Region of Durham. The location, design, and intended use for this supportive housing project is entirely appropriate for this location.”

According to Regional communication officials, the “matter does not have a hearing date set, from the trial coordinator at this time.” They also explained the Region is “applying to the Court for a ruling as to whether the Brock Interim Control By-law is appropriate to stop the supportive housing project.”

In the press release, Brock Township stated they continue to work with their “solicitor and the Region of Durham’s solicitor in hopes of achieving a mutually beneficial agreement [which] addresses the concerns raised by Brock Council and its residents.”

In another press release, sent out last year, the Region explained the housing project will “include about 50 units, and will be designed as an apartment building for ‘single, bachelor-style living only.’”

Brock council has heard several delegations from residents concerned about the location of the development and the potential success of residents who might live there, given the Township of Brock has no hospital and has a lack of social services.

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