Red Deer’s municipal planning commission unanimously approved an application for the former Econo Lodge, at 4124 50th Ave., to be developed into offices and an assisted living facility for the Canadian Mental Health Association. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Red Deer’s municipal planning commission unanimously approved an application for the former Econo Lodge, at 4124 50th Ave., to be developed into offices and an assisted living facility for the Canadian Mental Health Association. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

UPDATED: Buffalo Hotel tenants will have a new home in Red Deer

Municipal planning commission approves development application

The Canadian Mental Health Association has received city approval to move its supportive housing program from the old Buffalo Hotel to the former Econo Lodge at the south edge of downtown.

For 12 years, the aging Buffalo has provided permanent supportive accommodations using the housing-first model, which moves people with a history of homelessness or addiction off the street and into their own apartments.

Wednesday, the city’s municipal planning commission unanimously approved the redevelopment of the motel, which will increase the number of tenants by nine to 48.

Christine Stewart, executive director of the association’s central Alberta region, said the new location is perfect, and the commission seemed to agree.

“I think it really speaks to the work we’ve done as a community on the need for affordable housing in general. I really feel the committee members spoke to that, and spoke to the understanding to do more,” Stewart said.

Related:

Red Deer’s supportive housing program is on the move

Historic Red Deer hotel ready for a new chapter

The former motel, at 4124 50th Ave., is owned by a local business group. The association will lease the building and operate the program with staff on site 24/7.

The facility will include a locked, fenced, covered exterior corridor around the building that will connect to a secure courtyard. Access to the facility will be through a front door with a security camera and buzzer.

“Our tenants are not homeless. There’s a lot of reference to homeless people who are creating issues in the community, but our tenants have a place to live. They have a home. They pay rent,” Stewart said.

One of the nearby businesses wrote a letter to the commission objecting to the development, fearing a worsening of crime in the area.

Stewart said there is already a significant number of people sleeping in the trees behind the motel.

“So now with our presence, and 24/7 monitoring and cameras in place, I think we’ll be better equipped to handle any crisis or direct people to services as needed.”

A chain-link fence, topped with razor wire, will be installed at the back of the property.

Stewart said with about 80 people waiting for housing, more facilities are needed in Red Deer.

“There’s a large number of people that we’ve tried to house in scattered site apartments that just aren’t successful due to things like guest management and maybe some more extreme mental illness that causes public disturbances.

“With staffing support, they can maintain that housing. But we only have the one building. I feel that we need at least two more to successfully house everyone and get people off the street.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

addictionsred deer city

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File photo by Advocate staff)
Zero tax increase approved by Red Deer city council for 2021 and 2022

City council passed operating budgets for the next two years on Thursday

Red Deer city council approved a $39.6 million police budget for 2021, up for inflationary reasons from $37.9 million in 2020. (Black Press file photo).
Red Deer city council retains police funding, while also launching a crisis team

De-funding police is not a conversation in this municipality

Alberta reported an additional 1,854 cases of COVID-19 Thursday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories)
Red Deer has 289 active cases of COVID-19

Province now has 17,743 active cases

The Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre in Red Deer has new owners. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Cambridge Hotel in Red Deer has new ownership group

‘They’re making an investment in this iconic hotel for the future,’ says general manager Gil Vallee

The new Gasoline Alley Farmers Market officially opened on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Gasoline Alley brewery a collaboration between brewers and farmers

Red Deer County’s newest brewery has been built from the ground up… Continue reading

Dan Cochrane, senior pastor at CrossRoads Church. Contributed photo
CrossRoads Church closes its doors for two weeks after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

CrossRoads Church made the decision to cancel in-house services for two weeks… Continue reading

Elliot Page poses for photographs on the red carpet for the movie 'Freeheld ' during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, in Toronto, on Sunday, September 13, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Elliot Page coming out offers historic visibility for trans and non-binary community

Elliot Page coming out offers historic visibility for trans and non-binary community

Patrick Guimond, owner of One Eleven Grill, has made a desperate plea to the premier to help restaurants who are struggling with the new COVID-19 restrictions. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
700 reservations cancelled: Red Deer business owner makes impassioned plea to Premier

Patrick Guimond had simply reached a tipping point. The owner of One… Continue reading

The Canada Revenue Agency building is seen in Ottawa, Monday April 6, 2020. Opposition MPs pressed officials Thursday to say how pared they are to begin collecting GST on sales by foreign companies such as Netflix, AirbnB and Amazon starting next year, as proposed by the Liberal government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs probe officials on ability to collect GST from Netflix, other foreign companies

MPs probe officials on ability to collect GST from Netflix, other foreign companies

An Airbnb logo is shown during an event in San Francisco on Feb. 22, 2018. Airbnb says it has a plan to curb New Year’s Eve parties this year in the wake of COVID-19, after a short-term rental was the site of a 60-person party in Mississauga last weekend. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Eric Risberg.
Airbnb rolls out restrictions in Canada to prevent New Year’s Eve parties

Airbnb rolls out restrictions in Canada to prevent New Year’s Eve parties

Bay Street in Canada's financial district is shown in Toronto on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
S&P/TSX composite again creeps higher as investors digest solid November gains

S&P/TSX composite again creeps higher as investors digest solid November gains

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Alta., Friday, May 5, 2017. Husky Energy will receive $41.5 million in federal money to maintain jobs and move toward restarting its West White Rose offshore oil project in Newfoundland and Labrador, if conditions permit. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky Energy to get $41.5 million in federal cash for stalled N.L. offshore project

Husky Energy to get $41.5 million in federal cash for stalled N.L. offshore project

Rode
Red Deer Central Lions looking to return to the ice shortly

Under normal circumstances the Red Deer Central Lions Speed Skating Club would… Continue reading

Defence lawyer Boris Bytensky, clockwise from top left, father of the accused Vahe Minassian, Justice Anne Malloy, and defendant Alek Minassian are shown during a murder trial conducted via Zoom videoconference, in this courtroom sketch on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. The key witness for the defence in Toronto’s van attack trial is set to testify for the fourth straight day today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Key witness for defence to testify for fourth day in van attack trial

TORONTO — The key witness for the defence in Toronto’s van attack… Continue reading

Most Read