This story has been updated.
The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear an appeal filed by the City of Dorval to block the construction of a locked juvenile detention unit by the Batshaw Youth and Family Centre in the heart of the municipality’s commercial sector.
The decision, which was annnounced Feb. 14, means Batshaw can move ahead with its plan to expand its facility on Dawson Ave., adding two 2-storey, 12-bed locked units for young offenders. The youth-protection centre’s current facility consists of four open units that wrap around a central courtyard. The two new units will not be visible from Dawson Ave.
“We are extremely pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision,” Batshaw executive director Margaret Douek said. “It opens the door for us to be able to fully serve our clients within their community and close to their families.”
Residents of the locked units will not be allowed to attend local schools unlike the at-risk children who live at the open facility.
Residents of the higher-security units will be young offenders who have been found guilty of violent crimes, including murder, or youngsters who self-harm and need to be closely monitored.
Residents of the new units will be monitored closely with a ratio of three monitors for every 10-to-12 children. Their outdoor space will be separate from the central courtyard and surrounded by a high fence designed to be impossible to scale.
Opposition to the facility’s expansion has been going on for over a decade. Opponents are worried about a shift in the atmosphere of the neighbourhood and an increase in crime.
In September 2011, Quebec Superior Court ruled that operating a closed-custody facility was part of Batshaw’s government mandate to reintegrate young offenders back into society. The City of Dorval appealed the decision.
“Over the last months we have been getting the word out through the media about what it actually will mean to have locked units,” Douek said. “We understand that people are fearful. Now it’s about continuing to educate people so that they are less fearful.”
The City of Dorval could not be reached for comment.