City Hall Reconsiders David Busby Fence

"Maybe The Fence Isn't the Greatest Idea"

Barrie City Council has decided to get a second opinion about a fence around the David Busby Street Centre on Mulcaster Street. At Monday night’s meeting, Council voted to refer a plan to build the fence to a city building committee, to see if there are better alternatives.

It was originally suggested the City pair with the landowners, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), to build a 50-foot wood fence along the McDonald Street-side of the property. The fence was to help alleviate concerns of noise, drug use, and other illicit activity raised by area residents, and to satisfy a desire for privacy for the Centre’s clients.

Related: City Hall to Help Install David Busby Street Centre Fence

Following second thought, along with feedback from the public, it was decided to allow a committee to take another look at the issue to see if something other than a fence would do; one letter sent to City Hall from a local resident suggested tall evergreen shrubs strategically placed along the property line. Deputy Mayor Barry Ward said a letter from the Busby Centre’s Executive Director, Sara Peddle, opened his eyes. “It made us aware that maybe the fence isn’t the greatest idea, at least where the fence is proposed isn’t going to solve the problem.”

Councillor Keenan Aylwin said a newly-created partnership may be able to shed further light on the issue. “I’m really happy that Busby and the CMHA have struck a neighbourhood consultation committee, that will be meeting for the first time this Wednesday, to talk about strategies to mitigate some of the concerns in the area.”

Aylwin added the Busby Centre caught too much heat over this one. “The David Busby Centre is not to blame for these problems,” Aylwin said. “We’re in the midst of a housing and homelessness crisis and an opioid crisis and they’re one of the many organizations working locally to solve those issues.”

Once the committee considers the issue, further suggestions would come to Council for a vote.