Some Thibeault Terrace residents say they will be calling a Realtor to put their homes up for sale if the North Bay Warming Centre moves in to their neighbourhood.
“Once that happens people down south will buy the properties and turn them into student housing units,” said a long-time Cartier Street resident.
“We’re already tagged as the student ghetto and now they want to throw this in. I’m certainly not against the program,” but he does worry about “what this will attract” to a residential neighbourhood.
The homeowner said his wife grew up in their house.
“We’re not going anywhere. We don’t want to see this take our neighbourhood down,” he said.
“Neighbours have told me they’ll be calling Realtors if the Warming Centre moves into their neighbourhood.
The executive director of the Gathering Place isn’t married to the idea of opening up the city’s homeless shelter during the winter months in a residential area outside the core of the city.
“There are logistical challenges for sure when it comes to the J.W. Trusler location” said Dennis Chippa Wednesday.
“It’s a 40-minute walk from downtown and the people who need this help can’t get on a city bus to get there because they don’t have a bus pass or the money for the ride.”
Mark King, chairman of the District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board, told The Nugget Tuesday that local businessman Jimmy Kolios purchased J.W. Trusler School and offered the building this winter to help the homeless.
King said it’s a deal they can’t pass up, considering Kolios offered to carry the utilities.
“Yes it may be a great option for some, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the best,” Chippa added.
“There are a lot of positives, but at the same time there are a lot of logistical issues, the most important one is how will they get there?” he said.
“Are we going to start offering shuttles, because we’re not a taxi service.”
Chippa said he hasn’t even visited the former elementary school on Cartier Street to see if it’s even a suitable space.
“We don’t have money for renovations and it’s already September. We have to be prepared for the end of October.”
He said he’s hoping to get a tour of the building this week.
“At this time I’m still actively looking for other sites,” Chippa said, adding he has a back-up plan to pass by his board in case the J.W. Trusler offer doesn’t come together.
“I’ll be damned if I will let the people who rely on the Warming Centre freeze to death.”