The City of Weyburn is facing controversy after council voted to reject a development application for a new special needs group home in the community after residents raised concerns of safety and declining property values.

The Weyburn Group Home Society, who were set to oversee the project in the neighborhood known as “the Creeks”, currently serve more than 50 people with disabilities.

The organization says there’s a long waiting list for people looking to move into a group home.

The proposed home would’ve had space for four residents with some degree of physical or mental disability. Those residents would have been cared for and supervised 24 hours a day by two to three rotating staff.

The project was recommended for approval by the Saskatchewan Housing Authority and city administration.

“You as a council have to listen to the people that elect us as to what we want to do with this,” Weyburn Mayor Marcel Roy said. “It becomes a political ball as to where you are going to walk the line. It’s a fine line, a very difficult line, a very difficult decision to be made.”

Council’s vote was met with disappointment from those who work with those in need of the care a group home can offer.

“It was discouraging to see the perception people still have of people with disabilities,” said Ashly Callan with the Weyburn Group Home Society. “I was sad to know that they weren’t willing to give them a chance, get to know them and understand, understand people with disabilities better and what it looks like to be an individual with disabilities.”

Both the provincial government and the opposition also expressed their disappointment over the decision at the legislature on Wednesday.

Mayor Roy says council is not against the construction of a group home, but instead wants to explore more options when it comes to its location.

Based on a report by CTV Regina’s Joey Slattery