Council to do “more homework” before deciding on group home

Group home is permitted regardless of council decision, question now is how many children

The matter of Eagle’s Nest Group Home came to Battleford town council again last meeting, although council is holding off on a specific decision until a later date.

Eagle’s Nest Youth Ranch, an organization licensed by the Ministry of Social Services, has applied for a discretionary use application for 61-28th Street in Battleford to become a therapeutic group home. If Battleford town council approves the application, the home would have six youth and two to three staff.

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A number of residents living near the home in question voiced their opposition to the project at the last town council meeting. The town received a number of letters opposing the project.

Residents voiced concerns that included possible noise, lack of available parking space, and possible misbehaviour on the part of the children.

The potential for lower property values was also a major concern.

According to the Saskatchewan Professional Planning Institute, “there is no evidence that affordable housing, personal care homes, group homes or supportive housing has a negative effect on neighbouring residential property values.”

Yet some 28th Street residents weren’t convinced, and asserted property values could decrease.

According to Battleford’s official community plan, “supportive housing, such as care homes and day care centres will be facilitated in all areas of town.”

Eagle’s Nest Youth Ranch doesn’t need to apply for a discretionary use application to house four children, and the organization is permitted to house four children without the matter needing to go to council.

A question now is how many children will be at the house.

Council decided to hold off a specific decision about whether or not to approve the house as a residence for six children until a later date.

A delay of the decision at the June 3 council meeting, Battleford Chief Administrative Officer John Enns-Wind said, was due to a procedural question.

“Council was wondering if they defeat the motion, can they put a condition … that they’ll revisit [the matter] in say one year or two years,” Enns-Wind said.

If there are no issues in the neighbourhood in the proposed time, Enns-Wind said, councillors also wondered if they could permit the two extra children to live at the residence at a later date.

Enns-Wind said the answer to such a question wasn’t immediately available, and said a next step for administration would be to consult with the province.

The News-Optimist couldn’t connect with Eagle’s Nest Youth Ranch in time for publication.

The next Battleford town council meeting is scheduled for June 17.




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