As a dad, I know the “I’m deeply disappointed in you” speech has a special sort of cachet. I don’t pull it out often, but when I do, it tends to go a lot further than threats of grounding or taking away the PlayStation.
It is a deeply special thing, saved only for extreme circumstances.
So, imagine when I saw the mayor of this fine city pull out the “deeply disappointed in you” speech… on his own council.
It happened this week, after council voted 7-5 to place a partial sunset clause on the proposed Mustard Seed project in the Chinatown/McCauley area. The 124-bed facility will offer wraparound, supportive housing for individuals in need — and offer medical care to the houseless, as well as preparations for hospital stays.
While council voted to support the segment of the shelter that will offer the supportive services, it placed a sunset clause on any emergency-shelter use. That will expire on July 1, 2025.
And it led to a scolding from Mayor Amarjeet Sohi.
“This project deserved more from this council,” he said.
Councillors Jennifer Rice, Erin Rutherford, Jo-Anne Wright and Michael Janz joined Sohi in opposing the sunset clause.
But why would the clause be needed in the first place? Because of the concern that more than 85 per cent of shelter beds in the city are concentrated in the Chinatown area. The City has a goal to spread out the shelters through the city, and ease the burden on Chinatown, but it hasn’t been realized, yet.
“The current concentration of shelters in our neighbourhood has led to numerous challenges that are impacting the well-being of residents, businesses and the homeless population alike,” said Wen Wang, the executive director of the Chinatown and Area Business Association as he voiced his opposition to the project. “We have voiced many, many times that we cannot handle the pressure and it will only worsen with the approval of this project.”