While the city of Sarnia refused to grant a zoning change that would have given the homeless shelter being operated by the River City Vineyard Church on Mitton a green light to continue, Mayor Mike Bradley says the municipality is taking a careful look at the implications of enforcement.
Bradley told reporters at his briefing on Friday that the city is seeking legal advice concerning the issue, one consideration being that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has been cited by River City Vineyard as one of the reasons for continuing to provide homeless shelter services.
The church's position is reportedly being supported by the Ontario Human Rights Commission
A document issued by the church said it had identified 25 churches (24 of which are in Ontario) that provide shelter under Section 2 of the Charter. The same document (which can be seen here) further defended the continuing service, saying "people cannot choose who lives in their neighbourhood."
Bradley told reporters it is a long-standing policy that "we do not enforce when it's under appeal."
He said Council should be able to make an informed decision, considering all issues including financial if they decide to enforce. "That's the right way to approach the problem."
Bradley said no complaints beyond the petition have surfaced since the issue came before Council.