BATSHAW YOUTH CENTER

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Photo: Global News

As work resumes on future Batshaw youth centre, the BCA received this letter on January 31, 2021 from a concerned citizen about the secury risks to Beaconsfield citizens.

 

Since we believe this concern is genuine, shared by many and signed, we publish it unedited​. Feel free to comment on our Facebook page.

Batchaw Center on Elm Opening this June without a security fence

 

Hello,

I believe the plans for the Batshaw youth center on Elm in Beaconsfield pose a serious risk to Beaconsfield residents.

Our current leaders in Beaconsfield are failing their citizens. They are here to serve us and yet when the plans to fill the unfinished center with at-risk youth and young offenders, they give a dismissive reply about our safety; the safety of the people they are charged with serving. The safety of the people whose tax dollars pay their salaries.

We were promised that a 10 to 12 foot security fence would be built around the perimeter of the center to protect the neighboring residents. This promise has been broken and now the plans have escalated to include moving 48 children in by this June and 84 by 2024/25. At the current time, only a make shift fence is standing on Elm to prevent the buildings from theft and vandalism.

The response from David Newell, my district 4 counsellor, replied, "There will be no fence around the property as it only (is intended to house) "at risk" residents with relatively short stays - maybe 3 months until (their) home life stabilizes. The fence that is up there now was just used for construction. The type of Batshaw residents where a fence etc. is required will be going to their Dorval facility." This response is dismissive, short sighted and completely unacceptable.

The plans for the center have changed, without providing the promised safety measures being delivered. 

There is no guarantee what kind of individuals will be moved into the buildings and how long their stay may be in the residences. As the Beaconsfield center is shaping up to be a massive re-adaptation center (as per Global News' Tim Sargeant - Jan 14th 2021). It has been reported that Batchaw also operates a detention center for violent young offenders in Prevost in the Laurentians, but the plan is to close that facility and move those juveniles to Dorval - once it’s renovated into a closed, secure detention center. There is no guarantee that violent youths moved from Provost to Dorval will not eventually be moved to Beaconsfield due to overflow and a lack of space in Dorval.

Given this Beaconsfield property rests on a 366,000 square foot lot, how often the plans for the Elm center have changed and how massive this re-adaptation center will be; it is quite logical to assume the Beaconsfield center could hold future young offenders, who have been found guilty of violent crimes, including murder. On Jan 23rd 2013, an article in the Montreal Gazette quotes Linda Corbeil, the then Director of Finance and Administration of Batshaw as saying the plans at the time are to house up to 108 youths between the ages of 12 to 18,“These are open units; the kids can go free”.

Don’t say kids without criminal records are nonviolent and nothing bad can happen here. In 1995, Jocelyn, 70 and Reverend Frank Toope, 75 were bludgeoned to death in their bed by three Beaconsfield juveniles, without criminal records, or any recorded history of violence. These are some of the potential juveniles who will be inhabiting the massive center which does not have any plans to look to protect their elderly neighbouring citizens in the Beaconsfield Co-Operative on Michael, on Evergreen Dr, or on Elm; which also holds the John F. Kennedy School for mentally and physically handicapped children.

Since Batshaw is planning to move at-risk youth from Dorval to Beaconsfield, and from Provost in the Laurentians to Dorval, we cannot be assured what type of youth will be housed in Beaconsfield in the future. As their plans have changed so many times, it only makes sense to require that the promised security fence is securely installed before any youths are moved to the Batshaw site on Elm to protect the citizens.

We need your help to protect us!

Thank you,

JoAnne Weaver