Montfort issues letter of concern about Salvation Army proposal for Montreal Road

The Montfort Hospital is adding its name to the chorus of people expressing concern about the Salvation Army's proposal for a new shelter project on Montreal Road.

In a French-language letter – addressed to Planning Committee Chair Councillor Jan Harder and Salvation Army National Advisory Board Chairman Andrew Lennox – the Hospital says it doesn't believe the Salvation Army's plan fits with the City's housing strategy.

“The approach proposed by the project does not respect the City of Ottawa’s ‘Housing First’ program,” the letter says. “That program aims to direct people living on the street or in emergency shelters toward affordable housing throughout the city, while offering support based on their needs. The Salvation Army’s proposal takes a completely different approach.”

The Hospital is also concerned the plan would not contribute to the Francophone culture of the area.

“Historically, and in particular since amalgamation in 2001, Vanier has been recognized as an area that has kept its unique and distinct identity, thanks to the number of Francophones who live here.”

The letter cites the City of Ottawa’s Montreal Road Secondary Plan section 1.1.1, which states:

1. Foster development and redevelopment along the Traditional Mainstreets and Arterial Mainstreet which complements and improves upon the positive qualities of the existing character of the District.

4. Provide open spaces or other areas for public functions, publicly accessible landscaped open spaces and public art that reflects the history of the District.

The letter also cites section 1.4.1, which states:

The area of the Central Sector along Montreal Road has historically been referred to as the French Quarter and its role has been to act as the focal point of the cultural identity of the former City of Vanier. Public art, street furniture and infrastructure, and contemporary interpretation through building design are some elements that can be used to reflect the French Quarter’s history.

The following policy applies to those lots with frontage on Montreal Road:

Policy:

  1. Development and redevelopment will include building, site design and streetscaping elements which acknowledge the history of the French Quarter.

The letter is dated November 9 and was signed by Hospital CEO Dr. Bernard Leduc and Board of Trustees chair Suzanne Clément. Councillor Harder has told CFRA she has not received the letter, nor has the Planning Committee's coordinator heard anything from the Hospital. Montfort communications director Geneviève Picard has confirmed to CFRA the note was indeed issued by Dr. Leduc and Ms. Clément.

The letter ends by saying the Hospital respects the “remarkable work” the Salvation Army does for the vulnerable and the homeless, but they hope the Salvation Army respects the City’s plan for Montreal Road and the unique, Francophone nature of Vanier.