At least one Red Deer business has moved away from the temporary drug overdose prevention site on 54th Avenue.
Fetch Haus – a pet store and grooming service previously located in Red Deer’s Rail Lands, opened its doors at a new location in the south end of the city Monday.
Owner Gareth Scott said at least two to three customers raised safety concerns at the previous location near Safe Harbour Society.
For about two weeks – since it’s been warmer – the business owner said the neighbourhood has been in “chaos.”
“The last two weeks has been a complete disaster,” Scott said, noting he’s seen many police cars and ambulances in the area.
“People are screaming, yelling, fighting. It’s just been chaos, so we’re happy, customers are happy, we’re just going to be positive and look forward,” he said about the move next to the Kentucky Fried Chicken on Gaetz Avenue.
The business employs seven people – all females – and they feel much relaxed now, said Scott.
The Red Deer business owner doesn’t blame Safe Harbour or those running the facility for what’s happening in his former neighbourhood.
“It’s the injection site. People are lined up there around the clock, and now that it’s warmed up, they’re like ants over at that site.”
Gayle Leasak, who owns Pegasus Builders, said the company is constructing a three-bay retail commercial building at 52nd Street and 54th Avenue. She is concerned about getting tenants once the building is up and running later this spring
Leasak, who has safety and hygiene concerns about the neighbourhood, said the company has two of the three commercial buildings available so far.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen once we take the fence down,” she said Monday, explaining the barrier has been up due to construction.
She said the winter was quiet for the most part, because it was so cold, except for a break-in in January.
“Our hand sanitizer in the toilet was gone… probably because it has alcohol in it.”
Pegasus Builders’ Pat Leasak echoed Scott’s thoughts. He said the homeless population is visible at nighttime, and in the past couple of weeks, he has noticed many police cars, including the Red Deer RCMP downtown unit, in the area.
He suspects it’ll get worse over the summer with warm temperatures.