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Three-hour discussion on Better Tent City at Woolwich council

The potential relocation would be onto a piece of farm land on Spitzig Road in the Breslau area
A Better Tent City
Supplied photo from Jeff Wilmer

No decision has been made on a potential relocation of the Better Tent City to the Breslau area.

But the location on Spitzig Road, according to a number of delegates who spoke at Woolwich Township council Tuesday night, leaves something more to be desired.

"Help the homeless?  100 per cent," said Melissa Bortuski Freij, "It's just the wrong area.  And there are too many things that are frankly, just not yet thought out enough."

Others raised the issue of the five acre land's proximity to housing, as well as a school and a lack of bus access to get into the urban areas of the region.

A petition is also up to stop the move from happening.

The Better Tent City is moving away from Lot42 in Kitchener, following the death of property owner Ron Doyle and the sale of the property.

The Spitzig Road land is owned by the Diocese of Hamilton, who Jeff Willmer with the Better Tent City said he got in contact with through the help of Father Toby Collins with St. Mary's Church.

"It's a 53 acre farm, and we're probably only going to be using about five acres of it," said Willmer.

He said it provides plenty of space for residents to be together, and apart when they need privacy.

As well, Willmer said it's not close to any residences nearby --- the closest neighbour is about 250 metres away --- and will have as many of the amenities residents got at Lot42 as possible.

This includes regular visits from the Sanguen Health Centre's mobile health care bus.

Another element of this is the fact that they're on the farm land, which Willmer said provides those residents with an opportunity to produce fresh produce every day of the year.

"(To) have the residents involved in that, learning some job skills, having a purpose and developing some confidence in the workplace is a big opportunity for us," he said.

The entire discussion stretched for about three hours, with council expected to bring this item back next Tuesday.

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