Council will get an update on the site selection process for the interim shelter and consider four recommendations surrounding the current location. (File photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Council will get an update on the site selection process for the interim shelter and consider four recommendations surrounding the current location. (File photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Current temporary shelter location in downtown most viable option: City of Red Deer administration

Red Deer council will get an update on the site selection process for the interim shelter, and four recommendations from staff surrounding the current location, following a public hearing Tuesday.

The interim shelter, currently located in the north portion of Cannery Row in the Railyards neighbourhood downtown, was originally established as a safe and healthy location for the community’s vulnerable population during the pandemic, the city said in a news release Friday.

In April, following a two-month extension to allow the shelter to continue operating at the current location, council directed administration to compile a list of alternate sites in the community to relocate the interim shelter. Through the site selection process, administration found the current location is the most viable option for the interim shelter.

“Our team went through a rigorous process of locating potential sites and determining whether each would be an option based on a list of criteria and site availability,” said Tricia Hercina, acting general manager of community services division.

“We looked at every possible location in the community including developable land, warehouses and hotels, considered both lease and purchasing options for a short term option until the permanent site is established. As it stands, there wasn’t any other site that makes financial or social sense at this point in time.”

Following the site update, council will consider second and third reading on the Land Use Bylaw extension relating to the location of the interim shelter.

If approved, the temporary shelter would be permitted to continue operating until May 31, 2022, at the current Cannery Row location. A development permit for the shelter with updated time extension and conditions will also be up for council decision.

If council approves the extension to the Land Use Bylaw and Development Permit, they will also have three strategies to consider that address mitigating issues in the Railyards neighbourbood, which were identified throughout the process. A list of opportunities to target issues such as crime, safety and neighbourhood cleanliness will be considered.

“We are recommending enhanced measures by the city, such as increased business and resident engagement, security, cleaning and new programs to increase feelings of safety,” said Hercina.

“Many of the measures being recommended will be possible through current city staffing; however, there would be additional costs associated with implementing any of the three options put in front of council.”

The public hearing will begin at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Those wanting to participate can do so through phone conference by dialling 1-833-714-0895 and entering 422996496.

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