By The Elders of Stinson Neighbourhood

On October 4th, the neighbourhood elders met with Jim Long: Catholic Diocese of Hamilton Chancellor of Finances, Katherine Kalinosky: Good Shepherd Hamilton, Rob Mastroiani, Program Manager Domiciliary Hostel and Emergency Shelter, Michelle Baird: New director of Housing Services Division and Alex Weinberger: Ward 3 Councilor Nann’s assistant. To discuss the future of location following decommission of the “temporary Good Shepherd shelter” in 6 months, March 31, 2023.

Throughout the meeting Rob, Michelle and Katherine responded to any question we posed regarding what will happen AFTER March 31 2023 with the response: “At this time, there is no plan to operate a permanent shelter from this location”

We received an email on Oct 6, from Chancellor Jim Long: “The Diocese will not be addressing this issue again until we know for certain when the Brothers intend to move out of the High School.  Feel free to email again at the end of March for an update and potential meeting date.”

A key revelation from Chancellor Jim Long stated that The Diocese has a Plan 1 and a Plan 2 for the property. The Chancellor asked what we would like to see. Responses included: there is a great need for all kinds of social housing, any kind of mixed social housing that would bring balance to our neighborhood; for instance, the new Elementary school is right across the street from Old Cathedral, therefore we will like to see moms and kids, refugees…and perhaps an area dedicated to low income post-surgery patients who live alone. Chancellor Long replied: The Diocese does not operate “housing” and that the cost of the empty building security is great. Chancellor Long told us that to renovate Old Cathedral will cost 20 million on the low side and that they have to preserve 60-70 % of the Heritage part of the building.

Plan 1 that was proposed to the Diocese by Brother Richard MacPhee, Head of Good Shepherd Hamilton and a member of the Hospitallers Order of St John of God. Plan 1 is “TWO VERY LARGE TOWERS of supportive housing”.

To prep for this Plan 1, the Diocese recently purchased 398 Main St E. next to Old Cathedral, which makes the real estate footprint suitable for the “two very large towers”.  Plan 1 will cost around $100 million… so…if Good Shepherd is not able to “secure” the monies [the Diocese is not “in the housing business” so the $100 million must come from somewhere else…grants? taxpayer monies?] the Diocese will implement Plan 2, selling the property to a developer to build…2 very large Apartment Towers.

When we requested details about these Good Shepherd proposed ” 2 very large supportive housing towers” none was given, even if the Diocese must already have some general idea since B. Richard presented Plan 1 & and the Diocese proceeded to purchase 398 Main St E.

All and all the meeting ended with vague promises of information far into the future. Chancellor Long said that there was no hurry for a community meeting because it will take probably a couple years perhaps to raise the $100 million for Plan 1 or to implement Plan 2 and sell. When we asked: What will Old Cathedral be used for between March 2023 and the implementation of Plan 1 or Plan 2? There was no response.

NEXT STEP: It is upon us not to waste 6 months waiting until after March 31 2023. We need to request now & to engage the architect of Plan 1, Good Shepherd H. Brother Richard MacPhee.

At this point we don’t know if Plan 1 will have a positive or a negative impact on Stinson/Lansdale. The hurdle is secrecy. Good Shepherd’s ethical path is to be transparent and to engage & inform & consult with the community beforehand; and to be open, at this initial stage, “to change the plan accordingly to the community input and social studies of the area” and thus to avoid any possible permanent negative impact on our neighbourhoods.

When: As soon as possible – the latest mid-November. Please contact xxxxxx to have your voice added to the discussions.