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Weyburn councillor apologizes for ‘stigma’ remark surrounding group home

Click to play video '‘I am extremely disappointed’: group home proposal sparks outrage in Weyburn' ‘I am extremely disappointed’: group home proposal sparks outrage in Weyburn
WATCH ABOVE: 'I am extremely disappointed': group home proposal sparks outrage in Weyburn.

A Weyburn, Sask., councillor who said there is a “stigma” to having a group home in an upscale neighbourhood is apologizing.

Brad Wheeler made the remark at a city council meeting Monday night and after receiving backlash from the community, has issued a written apology.

In his statement, Wheeler said he failed “miserably” at relaying a message on behalf of the Creek neighbourhood residents, who shared concerns of adding a group home to the area.

READ MORE: ‘I am extremely disappointed’: group home proposal sparks outrage in Weyburn

“After listening to the statement I made on Monday, I recognize why there are people upset with me, and rightly so,” Wheeler wrote in his statement.

“The statements I made are not the sentiments of the residents in the Creeks development, nor do they reflect mine. I spoke against my better judgment and sincerely wish I hadn’t.”

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The issue was brought up in Saskatchewan’s at the legislative assembly on Thursday when Weyburn MLA Dustin Duncan said it’s a misrepresentation of the community.

“These homes don’t take away, they add. They add a safe and secure home for our most vulnerable, they add to the colour and richness of a neighbourhood and they add smiles to the faces of those who have a home to call their own,” Duncan said.

Saskatchewan Social Services Minister Paul Merriman said he doesn’t believe Creek residents should have been given the choice on the matter, saying it could lead to a slippery slope.

“I disagree with the process and that anybody should have the opportunity to live in any specific street on any specific community that they wanted and I don’t think they should be discriminated against,” Merriman said.

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“What would they do when all of a sudden somebody moves in and buys that home- not a group home and they’re sitting there and have three intellectually or physically disabled children across the street from them?”

READ MORE: Sask. government workers with disabilities down 27 per cent since 2013

Weyburn has seven group homes servicing 52 clients.

“The Weyburn Group Home Society is a very valued organization in our community who serve wonderful clients among the most vulnerable in our community and we cannot say thank you enough on the work that they do,” Duncan said.

“Any neighbourhood would be lucky to have them.”

Duncan said members of council have already met with the Weyburn Group Home Society to resolve this issue and will sitting down with the developer sometime on Thursday.