From The Gazette

Beaconsfield

Batshaw plans $50M youth residential project in Beaconsfield

A proposed $50-million project to build housing units for troubled youth in Beaconsfield will offer teens support and training to successfully reintegrate into society, according to officials from Batshaw Youth and Family Centres.

The two-storey building to be built on Elm Ave. is to have nine units that could house 108 kids. The open-unit facility will offer educational and recreational, programs, courses in cooking to gardening, and will provide therapy and anger management sessions. Clinical staff would include nurses and psychologists. As well, about two or three staff will be assigned for each of the nine units.

“These are kids coming from families that have struggled to integrate them into society,” said Leigh Johnston, Batshaw’s director of readapting services. ‘They need a helping hand.”

The Elm Ave. project is part of a reorganization of Batshaw, which plans to close its Prévost campus in the Laurentians and focus on its facility on Dawson Ave. in Dorval and the new one in Beaconsfield. The Prévost campus is remote and it would be too costly to renovate its buildings that date back a century, said Lesley Hill, Batshaw’s assistant executive director, adding it was a problem for Montreal-area parents to visit. By relocating to Beaconsfield, the teens served by Batshaw will be better served by being closer to their community and they will have more potential for integration or even job opportunities, she added.

While the Elm Ave. facility will have open units, meaning the teens are free to come and go, there will be structures in place to keep track of their general movements.

“In Dorval, we had open units there for over 25 years and never had a problem,” Johnston said.

The social agency plans to demolish the aging, existing structure on its sprawling Elm Ave. property that houses the Portage Centre, a substance abuse rehabilitation program for English-speaking adolescents. Batshaw is waiting on city officials to approve the requests it made last month for demolition and construction permits. —-

Meanwhile, Beaconsfield Mayor David Pollock came under fire during Monday’s council meeting as to why he didn’t inform councillors or the public that Batshaw officials had presented some preliminary plans as early as spring 2011, considering the property was under scrutiny as part of proposed zoning changes to allow high-density residential development last fall.

3 comments

  1. The community is looking to have more problems with over 100 troubled kids in the neighborhood. That’s a huge number. Batshaw should renovate the Prevost location in the Laurentians which has the kids out of the city, giving them a better chance to detach from bad habits.

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