Town continuing to explore possibility of crisis care beds at fire hall

April 28, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Orangeville Council is directing Town staff to continue exploring the feasibility of redeveloping the second floor of the Fire Hall on Dawson Road into a crisis care bed facility. Council is also asking staff to explore land options throughout Orangeville for a residential Habitat for Humanity Build.

The motion directing staff to carry this out, with an amendment to proceed with any necessary zoning changes, passed 7-0 at a regular Council meeting on Monday (April 25).

When the report was brought forward, Deputy Mayor Andy Macintosh noted his support for the project, but commented on how it is dependent on Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) requirements, since the fire hall is located in a flood zone.

He asked if anyone’s checked with the CVC to ensure the project can move forward before Council gets too deeply invested, as it could change their plans entirely.

Orangeville’s general manager of community services, Ray Osmond said from former conversations with the CVC about the fire hall, it was shared that any changes to it internally are permitted but issues start when looking at external changes.

“In the case of the fire hall as an example, the issue with the fire hall was we couldn’t expand outside the walls of the fire hall,” Osmond explained.

“We couldn’t make changes to the site; we couldn’t make changes outside of the actual physical structure.”

Osmond noted while he hasn’t yet had direct conversations with the CVC regarding the crisis care bed facility, a dialogue will be started now that Council approved the motion directing staff to continue exploring the feasibility of the project.

He added that, as highlighted in Town staff’s report to Council, the crisis care bed facility wouldn’t require any external changes, so it’s just a matter of determining what changes would need to take place internally.

After an initial walk through of the building, Services and Housing in the Province (SHIP), who manages crisis care facilities in Brampton and Mississauga, said they’re quite excited for the potential of the building itself. If all goes according to plan, SHIP will be funded through Ontario Health to manage the crisis care beds at the fire hall once it becomes surplus. They will rent the space from the Town.

“SHIP was through it, they were thrilled. They thought it was a perfect site for this and they’ve also said what their success rate for those who end up in crisis is extremely high in their Brampton and Mississauga facilities,” noted Mayor Sandy Brown.

“They offer a higher level of resources to treat people who might have mental health or addiction problems that find themselves in crisis, both men and women and this is a great spot to do that.”

A new fire hall is currently being constructed by the intersection of Centennial and Commerce Road with plans to finish for early summer of 2023, however Town CAO Ed Brennan said it could be delayed due to cost and supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic.

Renovations to the current fire hall on Dawson Road to convert it into a crisis care bed facility won’t start until the new fire hall opens.

Brennan said this project is likely years away if it does move forward.

Town staff will bring reports back to Council on the potential for the second floor of the fire hall to be converted into a crisis care bed facility as progress is made on the project.

Orangeville Council’s next meeting is scheduled for May 16.

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