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Letter to the Editor: Reader frustrated with regional council

Rande Keffer has lots of questions about the emergency COVID isolation facility in Cambridge

Dear editor

I am writing this letter to you out of frustration with members of our regional council, namely, regional chair Karen Redman, City of Cambridge Mayor/regional councillor Kathryn McGarry, regional councillor Karl Kiefer and regional councillor Helen Jowett.

On January 7, 2022 at 10:57 a.m. I sent an email to these individuals who represent the residents of the City of Cambridge because I had some questions after reading the articles that appeared in CambridgeToday and The Cambridge Times regarding the purpose of the former Kinsmen Child Care Centre being converted to the housing stability/emergency shelter systems quarantine and isolation facility.

On January 8, 2022, I received a reply from Gloria Barios from the Region of Waterloo. While some of my questions seemed to be answered, I felt that the reply appeared to be a standard reply that would be sent to anyone with questions and that the questions I had posed were not answered.

I sent another email to our representatives again and this time I listed my questions in number order. I asked specifically that these eight questions in my email be answered and that I wanted a reply to these questions.

1. In the Cambridge Today article it stated that according to The Cambridge Shelter Corporation this facility IS NOT an emergency shelter but will be an isolation place for COVID 19 individuals who are awaiting results. What exactly does that mean?

2. In The Cambridge Times article it states ‘This facility will also ensure that people experiencing homelessness have access to temporary accommodations that support their mental and basic needs while they are supported to find and transition to permanent housing.' How does this situation correlate to a facility that is designed as a quarantine and isolation centre?

3. Is this an isolation and quarantine facility or is this another homeless shelter disguised as an isolation and quarantine facility so residents are unaware of the real agenda here?

4. When the pandemic is officially declared ‘over’ will this facility be ‘decommissioned' and converted to something else such as a homeless shelter like The Bridges?

5. I want to know the cost projection to bring individuals to and from this ISOLATION site as well as the cost for both security and 24 hour seven days a week medical staff.

6. When was this motion passed by regional council and how much has been allocated and where are the funds coming from to pay for this.  Is this being funded by taxpayers or is corporate funding going into this as well?

7. How could regional council send a letter out to residents regarding the conversion of the Kinsmen Children’s Centre without so much as public consultation?

8. Were pandemic powers used to make this facility into the housing stability/emergency shelter systems quarantine and isolation site?

On January 13, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. I sent another email and stated that as a resident of the City of Cambridge and a taxpayer that I wanted a clear explanation and answers to these questions that I asked.

On January 19,2022 at 12:07 p.m. I sent my FOURTH email to these representatives because I have not been given the common courtesy due me to have these questions answered.

I specifically asked in the email of January 19th why these questions have not been addressed and did state that when a resident asks valid questions and especially when it pertains to the cost of places such as these, the resident has the right to know the projected costs and where the funds are coming from to pay for this since regional taxpayers as well as the residents of the City of Cambridge will be paying for this.

In the meantime, it was also brought to my attention by way of the media that the facility would also be utilized by residents of the City of Guelph. This posed another question which I want answered and that question is:  Will the City of Guelph be contributing to the expense and what will the percentage be that the City of Guelph bill be contributing?

As of today January 22, 2022 I have not had a reply to my email.

Is there a reason why there is no transparency by the Region of Waterloo and no answers to these questions?

All members of regional council need to remember 2022 IS THE YEAR OF THE MUNICIPAL ELECTION.

- Rande Keffer, Cambridge