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City of Dorval denies transitional home from opening, blames municipal election

Click to play video: 'Charity for women with addiction denied opportunity to rent home in Dorval' Charity for women with addiction denied opportunity to rent home in Dorval
WATCH: A charitable organization that houses vulnerable women, is left searching for a home. After the regional health authority supported the project, founders were stunned to be denied by the City of Dorval.But as Olivia O'Malley reports, the city claims they never rejected the proposal, it's just a matter of timing. – Nov 4, 2021

After overcoming her battle with addiction, Liane Berry became a founding member of LI-BER-T house. The charitable organization is looking to rent its first transitional home to help recovering women reintegrate into society. Berry says she was thrilled when she discovered a residence in Dorval.

“This house is fully equipped to provide all of this, the comfort that we need. And you know, it basically fits into what we’re looking for,” said Berry.

However her feelings quickly changed when she received an email from the city on Oct. 29, reading “unfortunately, the City of Dorval will not authorize the housing and consultation services for at-risk women reintegrating society, that LI.BER.T house would like to offer at 1195 Dawson, Dorval.”

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By this point, LI-BER-T house had already made the Dorval Urban Development Department aware of their proposal, in order to find out the necessary procedures to integrate into the community. They needed support from the regional health authority (CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal), which they got in the form of a letter and Berry claims that the Dorval Urban Development Department said, “that they didn’t see a problem with it because their supervisors were on board and that it looked like it would be fine.”

That’s why Berry was so surprised when days after she told the Dorval Urban Development Department LI-BER-T house was looking for a location, the city denied the request.

“We were quite shocked and also disappointed. And, you know, we felt that we weren’t we weren’t heard,” said Berry.

Click to play video: 'Overcoming addiction' Overcoming addiction
Overcoming addiction – May 18, 2021

In a statement to Global News, a spokesperson for the City of Dorval says it has not rejected the request, “the city is simply not in a position, at this moment, to properly analyze the request and make a decision, as municipal elections are just around the corner with several current council members not seeking another mandate. Once the new council is elected, the city will gladly consider the request and make its recommendations.”

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While LI-BER-T does not need city approval to rent the home, Berry says they told Dorval about the project in order to be fully transparent.

“Could it be that there’s stigma attached to recovering addicts and alcoholics?” Berry wonders.

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Two Dorval mayoral candidates say they don’t understand why the city wouldn’t approve the proposal right away.

“I find that totally deplorable that they would actually do something like this,” said candidate Giovanni Baruffa.

Candidate Richard Moreau added, “it’s really, really key to do it as soon as possible because it’s for the community, it’s for the women and it’s kind of key in my mind.”

Current city councillor Marc Doret told Global News that the project is required in the West Island, but he needs to learn more.

“What we’d like to do is meet with the organization first – as soon as the election is over – so we can better understand what their project is all about.”

The fourth candidate Marc Barrette did not reply to Global News’ request for comment by deadline.

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Berry says she hopes the next city council will encourage and support the project, so that they can welcome women in January.

“Everyone deserves a second chance,” she said.

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