SASKATOON -- The Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. says many of its more than 130 permanent residents are sad to see Saskatoon mayoral candidate Rob Norris "say they need fixing and removal."

However, Norris’ campaign says he is not calling for the removal of anyone at the Lighthouse or the Lighthouse itself.

“This shared post uses very divisive language meant to evoke negative emotions in order to garner votes,” the Lighthouse said Thursday on Facebook regarding a Facebook ad by Norris’ campaign for a petition to “FIX the Lighthouse.”

“Be a smart voter. Inform yourself. And most of all, be kind. The world needs more kindness.”

However, any position Norris takes on the Lighthouse has nothing to do with its residents, clients or staff, according to his campaign.

“If there is a perception that Rob somehow wants to remove people, he has never said that. And the petition doesn’t say anything about that either. It’s about fixing it,” spokesperson Dale Richardson told CTV News.

The petition on Norris’ website states: “The status quo at the Lighthouse is no longer acceptable: it's not working for the most vulnerable who need its services, not citizens that are feeling increasingly unsafe downtown, and not for businesses downtown.

“A new path forward and solutions are needed, but one thing is clear: it's time to FIX the Lighthouse.”

The Facebook ad for the petition says: “Can you respond to the petition by 11:59pm tonight? Your response is critical.”

Richardson said the purpose of the petition is to identify people who agree with Norris - that things should improve around the Lighthouse and downtown.

Norris’ position lines up with the other candidates, including incumbent Charlie Clark, Richardson said.

“Rob, as he has been campaigning, has been hearing concerns from across the city. It’s not just people that live in suburbs, it’s people that have businesses downtown, people that work downtown too. He has been hearing loud and clear that there are concerns about downtown safety and people are concerned about the Lighthouse.”

As mayor, Norris would appoint a blue-ribbon panel of experts to identify solutions, updates and changes for the Lighthouse and put those recommendations into place, Richardson said.

In its post, The Lighthouse gave examples of what it says “really needs fixing”:

  • Funding models for shelters
  • Addictions need to be understood, treated and funded like any other health disorder.
  • Saskatoon needs more transitional and affordable housing immediately.