Dorval residents speak out against proposed ‘jail’

Marc Lalonde
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Batshaw says WI kids need to be near home for rehabilitation purposes

A number of Dorval residents are opposed to the expansion of the Batshaw Youth and Family Services building on Dawson Avenue, saying the proposed changes, including a 12-foot-high perimeter fence, are not welcome in their residential neighbourhood.

The proposed expansion of a Batshaw Family Services group home in Dorval is too much for some residents, who are now speaking out against the idea of an expanded detention facility for teens who have been placed there through court order.

“A residential area is no place for a jail, and that’s what (Batshaw) wants to build here,” said Dorval resident Rita Christie, who is spearheading the grass-roots effort to keep the youth-protection agency from expanding their Dawson Avenue group home to include offenders who have been sentences into the system and must spend their days in closed detention.

In 2008, Dorval denied the group building permits that would’ve allowed the expansion to go ahead, and Batshaw responded by taking the city to court – and winning. In September of last year, Quebec Superior Court ruled the expansion could go ahead. Now,Dorval is appealing the decision. A decision isn’t expected before September.

That hasn’t stopped Christie and her fellow residents from doing everything they can to stop an influx of "criminal" teenagers into the residential area they call home.

“It’s very unsettling,” Christie said. “Dorval has a lot of young families and elderly families, and (the expansion) is going to stimulate more criminal activity in the area, especially in the alleyway between the campus and Dorval Avenue. It’s already bad, and I can’t see it getting any better with a prison-like structure in the neighbourhood,” she added.

Neighbour Ken Watkins, who lives on nearby Berkeley Circle, said he regularly observes teens making trouble near the campus and is fearful that number will increase with the Batshaw expansion.

“I was just at the store (next to the campus), and they said they’ve had lots of problems – that they have to call police once a week on average,” he said, convinced the number of such incidents will rise.

“I’m sure they will be exacerbated,” if the Batshaw expansion is realized, he said.

Dorval mayor Edgar Rouleau and council re-zoned a part of the city’s industrial park to allow Batshaw to build in that area, but the agency said no thanks, citing the land they already own on Dawson.

Last year, Batshaw Youth and Family Services closed their Shawbridge Farm campus in the Laurentians and must now find a place to house the young people that would’ve been housed there.

“The largest percentage of our kids are from theWest Island,” said Batshaw director residential treatment Nick Pare. “We want to be able to rehabilitate them back into their environment and being 70 km away from Montreal was not ideal,” he said.

The plan, from Batshaw’s end, is to expand the current Centre d’Acceuil into a two-storey building, with three open units – designated for kids who have been placed with Batshaw for their own protection or other family-related issues, and two more secure closed units – designated for young offenders in detention. Roughly 85 per cent of the kids housed on campus are there for their own protection, while about 15 per cent are in detention.

“Although this is a concern about the security in the neighbourhood, the kids in secure units are not able to circulate in public like the kids in open units can,” said Pare.

Included in the plans for the site is a secure, 12-foot chain-link fence that would be erected on the perimeter of the property, Batshaw director of finance and administration Linda Corbeil said, adding “there will be no barbed wire,” on top of the fence, as some citizens had lamented.

Christie, through, is adamant.

“It’s going to look like a jail, and we don’t want it here. It doesn’t belong here. It just doesn’t,” she said, going so far as to take the group’s complaints to Marquette MNA Francois Ouimet.

Ouimet, for his part, acknowledged Batshaw’s need for a campus in the West Island, but maintained another location would be more ideal.

“Certainly, we understand the need for youth to be rehabilitated in a place that’s close to home, but what we said was that we may want to look at alternatives. ‘We don’t mind you being in Dorval, but not in a residential zoning area,’ was the general consensus,” he said, adding he has sympathy for the families of young people getting help at Batshaw.

“Families want to come visit their youth and troubled youth need to be near their family and friends – not be isolated.”

Organizations: Batshaw Youth and Family Services, Quebec Superior Court, Shawbridge Farm

Geographic location: Dorval Avenue, West Island, Dawson Avenue Laurentians Montreal

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Recent comments

  • Information is Power
    December 23, 2012 - 22:30

    I've looked at this from all angles. Is it possible that the government of Quebec is using Batshaw to SNEAK this prison/ foster home into Dorval, simply because the government knows very well that IF THE CITIZENS KNEW THE TRUTH, we the citizens of Dorval would do everything possible to STOP THIS PROJECT IN ITS TRACKS. Here are some VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS that every Dorvaler MUST ASK THEMSELVES about this project: QUESTION # 1: Why on November, did BATSHAW finally open up about this project on Monday November 19th 2012 and invite ONLY a Gazette reporter to do a CUSTOM MADE story on this? ANSWER # 1: Because Batshaw felt the pressure from us, and they needed to SPIT OUT more **manipulative, controlled, one sided mis-information about this project - IN A VERY FLAWED ATTEMPT TO CONVINCE THE COMMUNITY THAT THEY WERE FINALLY BEING TRANSPARENT (dahhhhhhhhhhhh); here's the ONE-SIDED REPORT. Can you see any member of the community in this video asking questions about the project? NO! Batshaw CONTROLS EVERYTHING they do - no matter where, with who or how ! THIS AGENCY IS COMPLETELY OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wH3ui8TZ7Lg ------------------------------------------------------------------------ QUESTION # 2: What happened at the last BATSHAW hybrid PRISON/ CLOSED FACILITY in Prevost Quebec - particularly, with respect to how children were treated there? ANSWER # 2: BATSHAW was convicted / exposed by the Quebec Human Rights Commission - this for VIOLATING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE CHILDREN UNDER THEIR CARE AT THEIR CENTER. This is only one of the official links which speak about that situation; There were many questions asked - specifically about the possibility that the BATSHAW facility may have openly VIOLATED childrens rights with respect to the United Nations Convention on the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Children; http://www.flickr.com/photos/91121912@N04/8278947837/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Then almost 20 years later - BATSHAW is yet again CONVICTED / EXPOSED ""BLASTED by the Quebec (CANADA) Human Rights Commission THIS for having VIOLATED the HUMAN RIGHTS of innocent, vulnerable and helpless children - which children BATSHAW WAS SUPPOSED TO BE PROTECTING FROM ABUSE/ HARM!": http://video.ca.msn.com/watch/video/quebec-foster-care-concerns/16az61g1n DO WE REALLY WANT THE NAME OF OUR COMMUNITY ""PRINTED IN EVERY NEWSPAPER NORTH AMERICA WIDE"" - the next time BATSHAW is exposed? Do we as citizens of DORVAL, Quebec - have the right to NOT BE DRAGGED INTO INDIRECT ASSOCIATION / INDIRECT PARTNERSHIP WITH THIS AGENCY - this until we can be sure they properly understand and protect a CHILDS HUMAN RIGHTS? Isn't this what their LAWFUL MANDATE IS? WHAT IS GOING ON OVER THERE - WHEN THE ONLY AGENCY WHICH EXISTS TO PROTECT A CHILD FROM HARM/ ABUSE - are the ones VIOLATING that same child's HUMAN RIGHTS? SOME THING IS VERY VERY WRONG SOMEWHERE! DO WE REALLY NEED BATSHAW STAFF VICTIMIZING OUR COMMUNITY? http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/montreal/Pregnant+woman+sues+Batshaw+social+worker/7281624/story.html .

  • Virginia Mercier
    November 12, 2012 - 20:43

    THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE CHILDREN - NOT WHATSOEVER. ITS ABOUT POLITICS. THE POLITICS OF "HOW DIRTY ONE CAN BE AND STILL GET AWAY WITH THINGS WHICH MIGHT BE IMMORAL, UNETHICAL AND MAYBE EVEN CRIMINAL"...... . This Batshaw PRISON - JAIL COMPLEX is truly a SERIOUS issue. If Batshaw cannot seem to communicate the truth of this project to the community openly - how are we supposed to trust / work with this agency in any kind of constructive manner? We attended the city meetings on this and we know what's going on. But then my husband told me that something smells fishy here. So after he checked on this internet thingy to see what he could "dig up about Batshaw" - It seems that in 1996 they were already CONVICTED by the Quebec Human Rights Commission - this of having locked young children in a small 4' x 8' room with NO windows.... "and this for extended periods of time". IMAGINE, the Quebec Human Rights Commission actually CONVICTED Batshaw Youth and Family Centers of VIOLATING CHILDREN'S RIGHTS - and the Quebec Human Rights Commission even had to order the Chapel of the (Batshaw) Prevost campus - CLOSED indefinitely. NOW BATSHAW WANTS TO OPEN ANOTHER PREVOST CAMPUS TYPE DETENTION CENTER HERE IN DORVAL? http://www.fixcas.com/cgi-bin/go.py?2012f.Batshaw Our next question is this. If Batshaw is the only place which exists to protect children's rights - - - and it seems that Batshaw flagrantly VIOLATES THOSE VERY CHILDREN'S RIGHTS THAT THEY ARE MANDATED BY LAW TO PROTECT ....... what hope do any of these kids have - this to be treated in a humane and correct manner? Who is there to check on Batshaw? They say they are professionals on children's rights? Is this for real? Holy Cow.... my husband just found another write-up about Batshaw being caught RED HANDED violating the rights of the very children that they are legally mandated to protect. This is the second conviction of Batshaw by the Quebec Human Rights Commission - for having violated children's rights! What in the world is going on here? Who are these people? Is this for real? A young girl of 12 pregnant in foster care? Another Foster Child sexually abused for 5-6 years? WHY ARE THESE CHILDREN'S RIGHTS BEING VIOLATED BY THE VERY AGENCY PAID MY TAX DOLLARS - TO PROTECT THESE SAME CHILDREN? http://video.ca.msn.com/?mkt=en-ca&vid=cbcc2012-2002-1851-0058-219941863500&from=dest_en-ca&src=v5%3Ashare%3Asharepermalink%3A ITS OBVIOUS THAT THERE ARE SOME VERY VERY SERIOUS CONCERNS HERE THAT HAVE COME OUT - BUT ONLY AFTER THE FACT. GUESS WE ARE VERY VERY LUCKY THAT THIS PROJECT WAS HALTED ..... AS THIS WILL GIVE US ALL A CHANCE TO DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY - THIS TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM THIS AGENCY - AN AGENCY APPARENTLY "ACTING IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD"..... YA RIGHT ............!

  • Jennifer L. Ferguson
    May 09, 2012 - 20:03

    , I live in Dorval and have always enjoyed the sense of community here. I am as law and order as they come, but on this issue, as well as the recent matter of the crematorium, I am ashamed of my neighbours. If not in our backyard, where? In a less affluent community whose citizens lack the time or energy to protest?

  • Jerry
    May 09, 2012 - 19:15

    Well there is always two sides to a story, I feel for the kids who need special attention but in the end it is the people who have to make the proper decisions. "The needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few" that said, I am assuming that if this goes ahead there will be a lot of real estate for sale come next spring 2013 and probably at lower prices. How to you advertise a home next to a prison or a home for the elderly. Dorval is already getting worst as the years progress, ther is more & more graffiti everywhere, vandalism & B&E's.....sure now we all we have to do is catch them and take them for a short walk. signed: Sure to move

    • Ultra Concerned Citizen
      November 13, 2012 - 11:05

      Right from the start - Batshaw has REFUSED to listen to any of us. How many times have people I know tried to contact and speak with that woman who adamantly told us that she would always be available to us at any time.... what's her name? Douek.... Martha? Margaret? Anyways, this is the typical story of DAVID vs GOLIATH and although Batshaw appears as a timid, communicative, caring and resourceful agency...... ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. A corporation or an agency cannot simply enter a city and automatically start telling the lifelong citizens what's going to go on. This is our TOWN and we deserve to be respected here 100%. I am completely baffled as to how this agency can continue to FLOOD main media with reports of COOPERATION and 2 WAY COMMUNICATIONS WITH ITS USERS / CITIZENS when it doesn't listen and even REFUSES TO LISTEN to even the smallest of us in society. THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE KIDS/ THE YOUTH - this is about A CORPORATION in disguise - BULLYING vulnerable citizens around like crazy - using lawyers possibly paid with the very scarce and fragile funds that some of us have given in the past - WHICH WE THOUGHT WOULD BE USED TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM HARM and to SUPPORT FAMILIES. If we allow this agency to do this to us, then we've lost our RIGHT to speak out and not only be heard - "BUT BE RESPECTED" - - - - and who knows how long it will be before they move on to the next city and the next city etc....... STAND UP AND PROTECT THE CHILDREN AND PROTECT DORVAL! video.ca.msn.com/watch/video/quebec-foster-care-concerns/16az61g1n

    • Ultra Concerned Citizen
      November 13, 2012 - 11:35

      Right from the start - Batshaw has REFUSED to listen to any of us. How many times have people I know tried to contact and speak with that woman who adamantly told us that she would always be available to us at any time.... what's her name? Douek.... Martha? Margaret? Anyways, this is the typical story of DAVID vs GOLIATH and although Batshaw appears as a timid, communicative, caring and resourceful agency...... ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. A corporation or an agency cannot simply enter a city and automatically start telling the lifelong citizens what's going to go on. This is our TOWN and we deserve to be respected here 100%. I am completely baffled as to how this agency can continue to FLOOD main media with reports of COOPERATION and 2 WAY COMMUNICATIONS WITH ITS USERS / CITIZENS when it doesn't listen and even REFUSES TO LISTEN to even the smallest of us in society. THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE KIDS/ THE YOUTH - this is about A CORPORATION in disguise - BULLYING vulnerable citizens around like crazy - using lawyers possibly paid with the very scarce and fragile funds that some of us have given in the past - WHICH WE THOUGHT WOULD BE USED TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM HARM and to SUPPORT FAMILIES. If we allow this agency to do this to us, then we've lost our RIGHT to speak out and not only be heard - "BUT BE RESPECTED" - - - - and who knows how long it will be before they move on to the next city and the next city etc....... STAND UP AND PROTECT THE CHILDREN AND PROTECT DORVAL! video.ca.msn.com/watch/video/quebec-foster-care-concerns/16az61g1n

  • Chris
    May 04, 2012 - 19:52

    Very well written and at least looks at both sides. Always enjoyed your parenting articles and in all the articles I've read so far, this is one of the few that at least looks at both sides.

  • Robert Rondeau
    May 03, 2012 - 15:50

    I find it very sad that troubled children are considered by some citizens as unwanted problems, instead of showing compassion by reaching out and allowing them to be part of our wonderful community. I've seen an editorial cartoon recently that even portrays the facility as being more daunting than the Bordeaux jail. In the Mercier district, on Sherbrooke Street near the Beaugrand Metro station, there is an institution for troubled boys that has been part of the community for 70 years; has anyone heard about trouble at the Mont-St-Antoine? As a former Premier might have famously said to panicky Dorvalers, "OK, everybody take a Valium."

    • Ultra Concerned Parent
      November 13, 2012 - 10:48

      To: Robert Rondeau - "to answer your question: HAS ANYONE EVER HEARD ABOUT TROUBLE @ "CENTRE DE JEUNESSE MONT-ST-ANTOINE"? Let's see...... On August 7th 2006 the Center first opened (before it was called Centre Marie-Vincent). Here's the USUAL wonderful article written up - similar to the one which might be written if Batshaw gets their center approved and built in downtown Dorval. On March 7th 2011 a young child succeeded in committing SUICIDE there. DOES THAT ANSWER YOUR QUESTION? OR IS A YOUNG CHILD COMMITTING SUICIDE IN A YOUTH DETENTION CENTER - NOT CONSIDERED TROUBLING TO YOU". I agree, why should DORVALERS panic if a YOUNG CHILD ENDED UP COMMITTING SUICIDE IN "TOBY - THEIR OWN BACK YARD THEIR BACKYARD". FURTHERMORE: On 2 past occasions - BATSHAW has been TARGETED AND EXPOSED by the Quebec Human Rights Commission - once in 1996 (for VIOLATING CHILDREN'S HUMAN RIGHTS) and again in 2012 - 15 years later (ya you guessed it - for AGAIN - VIOLATING CHILDREN'S HUMAN RIGHTS). - - - - AND NOW THE CITIZENS OF DORVAL ARE SIMPLY SUPPOSED TO TRUST THIS AGENCY TO "PROTECT OUR CHILDREN"? WHAT? WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM? Please - I truly hope you're NOT using your real name here....... because I would be extremely embarrassed if I was you - for using kids/ youth as a "crutch" to try to win the hearts and minds of Dorvalers.......

  • Robert Rondeau
    May 03, 2012 - 06:23

    I find it very sad that troubled children are considered by some citizens as unwanted problems, instead of showing compassion by reaching out and allowing them to be part of our wonderful community. I've seen an editorial cartoon recently that even portrays the facility as being more daunting than the Bordeaux jail. In the Mercier district, on Sherbrooke Street near the Beaugrand Metro station, there is an institution for troubled boys that has been part of the community for 70 years; has anyone heard about trouble at the Mont-St-Antoine? As a former Premier might have famously said to panicky Dorvalers, "OK, everybody take a Valium."

  • Mike
    April 30, 2012 - 21:34

    A jail for juvenile offenders has no place in a residential area with an elementary school only blocks away. That's just crazy! Batshaw please come to your senses and don't do this to the residents of Dorval.