An abandoned shopping cart sits near the Cannery Row temporary shelter in Red Deer. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff).

An abandoned shopping cart sits near the Cannery Row temporary shelter in Red Deer. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff).

Land selected by Red Deer city council for permanent shelter — but no details provided

Mayor says more will be revealed in January

A location was selected for Red Deer’s new permanent homeless shelter. But Red Deerians won’t find out where until the New Year.

A close-door meeting was held by city council on Monday to discuss five possible location choices for the permanent shelter in the city.

These were narrowed to two recommended options. And then one of these was approved by council in a 6-3 split vote (Mayor Ken Johnston, and counillors Dianne Wyntjes and Vesna Higham voted against it).

But the public will not find out more details until early in the New Year, said Johnston.

When asked why Red Deerians can’t be told which general areas of the city are being considered for the permanent shelter without narrowing it down to particular lots, interim city manager Tara Lodewyk responded that land negotiations were part of the discussion. And land negotiations are allowed to be held in camera under the Municipal Government Act.

While it appears city residents will not have a direct say on the property selected for the city’s permanent shelter, Lodewyk said a public hearing would be triggered if a land re-zoning is required.

If a re-zoning is not needed, she said there will be some public feedback sought in the permitting process.

Meanwhile, Red Deerians can have some input at a Jan. 17 public hearing on keeping Red Deer’s temporary homeless shelter at the Cannery Row site for another two years.

Red Deer city council passed first reading on Monday to keep the shelter at its current temporary downtown location until a permanent shelter can be built and opened.

Last week, council heard an administrative report that stated land for a new temporary shelter cannot be found for lease or purchase in the short-term, without resulting in a gap in service. Council therefore opted to focus its time and resouces on helping the provincial government move quickly on building a permanent shelter instead.

The hearing on keeping the temporary shelter at Cannery Row will be held at 4 p.m. on Jan. 17, with no information yet on whether it will be all virtual. Notice will be provided to all property owners within 100 metres of Cannery Row, with information about what efforts are being taken to mitigate concerns about loistering, litter and disturbances.

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Red Deer City Council