Red Deer City Hall. (Advocate file photo.)

Red Deer City Hall. (Advocate file photo.)

Hundreds of Red Deer residents surveyed about homeless shelter location

City hopes to add more public consultation before a final decision in July

More than 800 Red Deerians have, so far, weighed in on City of Red Deer surveys about a homeless shelter location.

There were 723 responses to an online survey that closed on June 10, while about 100 local residents took part in in-person forums on June 8 and 9, said Jill Hanes, a senior communications consultant with the city.

The city’s communications department wanted to facilitate “great conversations” about site selection, said Hanes, who believes the public input process provided those.

Her department is now pulling together the public comments expressed in the surveys and also emailed to the city. A report is expected to go before city council on Monday.

Surveyed citizens were asked whether they support seven aspects of site selection that city council has been working with, or whether they wanted to add some of their own criteria

The established criteria included: Ease of purchasing a site (if the proposed site is not owned by The City, the landowner must be willing to sell), Accessibility to other existing support services for the homeless; Size to accommodate a building that is at least 10,000 square feet; Compatible surrounding land uses; Whether there are development constraints that might make the site unsuitable for occupancy (ie.landfills, escarpments, proximity to floodways etc); Logistical efficiencies (would certain issues add to the development cost?); ability to leverage existing assets and/or co-locate important services in an integrated manner.

“We are hoping to provide more public input opportunities” throughout the development process, added Hanes.

City council will be making a decision on the permanent shelter’s location in mid-July.

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