Eagle’s Nest Youth Ranch discretionary use permit approved

Battleford council has given its approval for another discretionary use permit for the residential care home for Eagle’s Nest Youth Ranch in Battleford.

The application was for their existing group home at 61-28th Street West, which houses six youth.

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The resolution was amended with conditions that it be for a two-year time frame, that they be required to purchase one or two more garbage bins and that the organization resume meetings within the neighbourhood again, either online or in person.

On Tuesday night, council heard from Scott Dakiniewich, program director at Eagles Nest Youth Ranch, about their residential group home in Battleford for four to six youth. He explained they had received a discretionary use permit for 18 months as a trial basis, at which point it was to be revisited. Now that the time period was up, they were making an application again, this time hoping for a permanent permit.

In his view, things at the group home had gone quite well.

“We’ve felt good in the neighborhood,” said Dakiniewich, who said neighbourhood residents have been welcoming as well.

He acknowledged there have been the “odd issue” such as garbage, but any time there has been an issue they have addressed it.

“For the most part, we leave everybody alone and everybody leaves us alone, so it’s going well for those kids who live there.”

The group home had been first approved as a discretionary use on June 17, 2019. At the time, council received numerous letters opposing the application.

Dakiniewich acknowledged that things had been “a little contentious” 18 months earlier when they applied the first time.

“Battleford is one of the more welcoming communities, and easier communities to work with and, frankly, more accepting communities for our youth,” said Dakiniewich.

There had been some concerns received at Town Hall regarding the latest application. Councillor Judy Pruden particularly noted concerns she received about police presence at the location.

Dakiniewich explained the police presence usually came about because they were having issues dealing with a behaviour that was unsafe, or because a youth that had run away for periods of time with police bringing them back.

The approval of the discretionary use application, as amended, was unanimous; Mayor Ames Leslie did not participate in the vote citing a conflict of interest.

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