El'dad is looking for permission to operate a group living facility in a rural residential area, southeast of Mitchell.

El'dad is a community service organization that provides a range of services such as residential support, vocational training, and housing assistance to men with intellectual disabilities. They have established a group living facility at 341 David's Bay for individuals with intellectual disabilities. 

Applicant Jules Will met with Hanover Council on Wednesday, seeking a Conditional Use order. Will wants approval for a group home on that two-acre parcel zoned Rural Residential, north of Road 35N. 

Will told Council that if approved, the group home would have a maximum of three residents and three support staff onsite 24 hours per day. He notes they want to keep these men, living with intellectual disabilities, in the community. For those concerned with the outcome, Will says there is no proof that these group homes result in neighbouring property values going down and there is also no evidence that the crime rate goes up as a result. 

The municipality received two letters of objection towards this application. Objections had to do with the fear that these men could pose safety concerns for the many young children living in the neighbourhood. There was also a concern that loud music might be coming from that property in the night hours. 

Several suggestions were made for how the application could be approved while taking to heart the concerns of residents. Councillor Ed Penner suggested that the municipality consider approving the application but on a one-year trial basis. That way, the municipality could have the group home closed after one year if there were too many concerns or problems. A suggestion was also made that maybe El'dad could make sure that only low-level-risk men lived in that home. 

In the end, Councillor Travis Doerksen made a motion to send the request to Hanover's Planning Committee to make a recommendation. Council agreed to do just that.

Hanover Reeve Jim Funk says he thinks Council needs to show compassion. 

"Just to sweep them off and say 'No,' I find it a little bit harsh," says Funk. "I personally believe that we should try and find housing for the people, but yet make it safe for the community and the neighbours all around."

As for some of the neighbours who showed up Wednesday in opposition, Funk says he thinks some of them might actually be changing their opinions. 

"If I was to read the crowd, I would say maybe they came with an intent at one point in time, but I believe they had changed their minds a little bit already prior to coming here," he says. "And I did see that they had a very good visit in the back after the public hearing and I think the conversation there was positive, and I think should this go through, they could work together."

Funk notes El'dad has a good track record in Hanover and to date there have been no issues.