Council urged to reject daycare proposal

Andrew Robinson
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Friendship Centre's application for St. John's facility to be voted on today

Marie Ryan speaks on behalf of the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre last week regarding the group’s application to start a daycare centre on Elizabeth Avenue.
— Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram

The City of St. John’s planning department is recommending that council reject the

St. John’s Native Friendship Centre’s application to operate a daycare centre in a house on Elizabeth Avenue.

City councillors are scheduled to vote on the friendship centre’s proposal at today’s council meeting.

According to a memo from deputy city manager David Blackmore included in the agenda for the Aug. 19 meeting, city staff’s recommendation to reject the proposal hinges on “the potential for safety concerns with traffic movements along Elizabeth Avenue during peak traffic hours.”

Safety was an issue brought up several times during a well-attended public information session held last Tuesday at city hall. People who live and work in the area expressed concern about traffic congestion and the safety of children crossing a busy road to get to the proposed centre.

The property at 97 Elizabeth Ave. is located across from St. David's Presbyterian Church and Elizabeth Towers.

Pat Sullivan, a resident of Elizabeth Towers, said she and her husband have nearly been hit by traffic while using a crosswalk in the area. Others suggested a daycare centre serving 32 children is an inappropriate use of a residential home not originally built for the purpose of functioning as a daycare centre.

Marie Ryan, who gave a presentation at the meeting on behalf of the not-for-profit aboriginal organization, said its proposal mitigated those safety issues. She said the organization had an agreement in place for staff to park across the street at the church, leaving the six parking spaces in front of the building accessible to parents and caregivers.

The friendship centre executive director David Penner added few people will drive to the site, as the majority of people who make use of the centre’s services do not own vehicles. He said many of the people who will use the daycare centre are students from Labrador attending school in the city.

The friendship centre has two vans it uses to transport its clients, and Ryan said the centre will obtain a third van to transport children if the centre is approved. She also noted the house is on a bus route and close to post-secondary institutions that many of its potential users attend.

Coun. Sandy Hickman put forward a motion at a council meeting last month to reject the proposal after the city received several letters taking issue with the application. Council later agreed to instead defer the matter.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Presbyterian Church

Geographic location: St. John's, Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Dave Power
    August 19, 2013 - 16:48

    Hey saucy face the only manure here is yours as you are full of crap and have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Same goes for Hedley & Diversify. Didn't see any of you at the meeting to voice your opinion, where were you? I know, hiding behind a fictious name because you don't have the guts to let everyone know who you really are not only on this matter but most others as well where you constantly complain about everything. Since when is the concern for the safety of children and the general public wrong. Also, for you to try and play a racism slant here is disgusting and simply shows how low you really are. Everyone who was at that meeting made it quite clear that they fully support the Friendship Centre and their work but had concerns about safety issues in this already very busy and dangerous section of Elizabeth Avenue. All the people opposed made it clear that there was no need to change a residential house into a commercial business with 8 staff and 32 clients. It is not the place for this or any other commercial business in this or any other residential area of the city with such a high traffic volume. Those living in that neighbourhood, for over 60 years, who have invested years of blood, sweat and tears keeping the area a nice place to raise families know better than anyone how such a commercial establishment will do nothing except create more dangerous traffic issues and potential for loss of life. If you were at the meeting you would also know that most in attendance did not live in the immediate area next to 97 Elizabeth Avenue rather the whole area as far away as Churchill Park so your NIMBY slant holds no merit either. If you care so much why don't you ask the city to have this business on your street if you live on one. If you care to respond to this please do so and let us know your real name unless you haven't the guts to do so. Go get a life and quit complaining about everything that you are obviously not qualified to comment on.

  • Diversify Your Neighbourhood
    August 19, 2013 - 10:53

    Isn't there also an elementary school and multitudes of summer camps in that area anyway? Create the daycare, fill the needs gap of the neighbourhood and get over it. You won't even notice and you will have forgotten you complained in about a week. Grow up. This is a city not a suburb.

  • Diversify Your Neighbourhood
    August 19, 2013 - 10:50

    Isn't there also an elementary school and multitudes of summer camps in that area anyway? Create the daycare, fill the needs gap of the neighbourhood and get over it. You won't even notice and you will have forgotten you complained in about a week. Grow up. This is a city not a suburb.

  • Anne Hedley
    August 19, 2013 - 09:47

    Well said Saucy Face. I was thinking the same thing.

  • Saucy Face
    August 19, 2013 - 08:32

    What a load of horse manure! These NIMBY's can come up with all the excuses they want, but in the end their manure smells of snobby racism