(File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer council approves Shelter Site Evaluation Matrix

Red Deer city council has approved a site evaluation matrix that will help guide the site selection process for a future permanent shelter.

During meetings held on June 24 and 27, and Monday, council worked through multiple exercises to determine five criteria and 22 sub-criteria. Council then weighted each to make up the Shelter Site Evaluation Matrix.

“What we did today in terms of process is give some good policy direction to (city administration),” said Mayor Ken Johnston.

The five site criteria are:

  • Ability to acquire sites;
  • Adequate land size;
  • Broad community impact;
  • Impacts to surrounding area;
  • Access to services and supports.

Along with the criteria and weighting, council adopted a resolution outlining conditions upon which council developed site criteria for the Shelter Site Evaluation Matrix.

“When we started on this road back in February, we were originally going to the public around a decision that council had made a few weeks before,” said Johnston.

“The message from the community was that, ‘We want to help, but we want to journey along with you.’ Today that accumulated into the site matrix.”

Through its public engagement process, the city received about 800 survey responses, hosted in-person sessions and received about 100 emails, Johnston said.

Acting city manager Lisa Perkins stressed the importance of the site evaluation matrix after Monday’s council meeting.

“The site criteria evaluation matrix approved today will be utilized by administration and city council to inform decisions about the future site of an integrated shelter in Red Deer,” said Perkins.

“The process of developing this matrix has been all about our commitment to consider what we heard from the public, honouring the voice of the city council in the development of the matrix and selecting a site for the future integrated shelter.”

In addition to the resolutions about the shelter evaluation matrix criteria, council resolved that administration will begin preparing a list of possible sites alongside a commercial Realtor with Mayor Johnston and the deputy mayor providing council perspective.

Johnston said there are still “many conversations” to be had with the Province of Alberta about other aspects of shelter, including shelter design, operations and service delivery.

“We look forward to continued collaboration with our provincial colleagues as we work in partnership to ensure a safe place for our vulnerable citizens to access required services on their journey to permanent housing, which is beneficial for the whole community,” said Johnston.

Administration will come back to council on July 18 to share an update about the site selection process.

For more information on the shelter project process, visit www.reddeer.ca/shelter.

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