Differing interpretations of the required distance between a school and a proposed new methadone clinic in south London continue to prompt disagreements over its location.

London’s new zoning rules for methadone clinics require them to be located 300 metres from the property line of any school.

In the case of the clinic proposed for 527 Wellington Road South, the distance to Sir G.E. Cartier Public School is only 251 metres.

Neighbours say the company is just trying to find a way around the regulations.

Robert Gee says “The people who need methadone as a treatment they need a place to go, but it’s just too close, there’s too many kids around…They’re looking for a loophole or technicality, but they are too close to that school.”

But the Hamilton-based company behind the clinic is challenging how the measurement was taken.

Towards Recovery Clinics says the straight-line distance between the two locations crosses several fenced, private properties and a more reasonable measurement would be the walking or driving distance.

Peter Earle, vice-president of community outreach and development says “In reality we are between 380 and 400 metres because it’s basically how one could walk.”

The company says if the intent is to limit contact between students and recovering addicts, that should be considered.

But Councillor Harold Usher says a straight-line measurement is the norm, and two years of study went into determining a safe distance.

“It’s the wrong spot. I have nothing against methadone clinics…We went through a process to create the by-law and we should live by it.”

When the city set the rules, more than 1,000 locations in London were determined to meet all of the requirements, and residents say 527 Wellington Road South isn’t one of them.

A public meeting on the re-zoning request is scheduled for February 19th at Centennial Hall.