A public meeting on how to proceed with 175 unused acres around the former Huronia Regional Centre will take place on March 30th, according to a statement from Infrastructure Ontario. Proceedings will take place in the Council Chamber of Orillia City Hall from 2 pm to 4 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm.
Previously scheduled for March 8th, the meeting was postponed after concerns were raised that the original date didn’t give former residents and concerned citizens enough time to participate.
“It’s very heartening,” said Community Living Ontario CEO Chris Beesley, “to hear that the people who lived at Huronia and the other institutions, along with their families and other concerned community members, will have enough time to prepare so that their voices can be appropriately heard.”
“After all,” he continued, “this is their story.”
Participants can contribute their ideas in a number of ways. In addition to attending the public meeting, they can facilitate a kitchen table discussion and take part in a webcast and/or online survey. For more information, visit www.Ontario.ca/HuroniaConsultation.
The 260-acre, government-owned Huronia Regional Centre was closed in 2009. It was one of 16 such Ontario institutions to be shuttered in recent years.
Currently, 85 acres of the land houses a training centre for the Ontario Provincial Police, a courthouse, a public health lab, and an office for the Ontario Disability Support Program. The government has deemed the rest of the property as ‘no longer needed.’
Those wishing to speak at the public meeting must pre-register by emailing HuroniaCampusUpdates@infrastructureontario.ca no later than March 24th, noting if they are speaking for themselves or on behalf of a group or organization, as well as which of the two sessions they’re interested in attending.
Speakers will each be given three minutes to talk, and up to two people may represent a given group; additional group members may speak, but must represent themselves as individuals.
The deadline for feedback, through all channels, is April 6th, one week after the meeting.
As the event is public, media may be at the meeting, so attendees should be aware that they (and their remarks) may be recorded. The Council Chamber is accessible, sign language interpretation will be available, and personnel will be on-site for support and assistance where necessary.
Daniel Share-Strom, Community Living Ontario