The proposed site for a permanent shelter in Red Deer will remain under wraps at least until Thursday.
City council singled out its top location two weeks ago from a short list of three to five sites. It was hoped that after getting the green light from the province, the site could be unveiled on Monday.
However, provincial officials requested additional information. Mayor Ken Johnston and members of city council plan to travel to Calgary on Tuesday to meet with three provincial ministers involved in the project and Red Deer’s two MLAs.
Johnston, who just returned from a two-week vacation, said provincial officials waited until he returned to work out the final details before going ahead hopefully with the long-awaited location announcement.
“There was just not enough time today to be able to put it together with the province and do the council meeting at the same time,” said Johnston on Monday evening.
“I know they have had some discussions internally with some of our staff here and I want to get down and see exactly where they’re at, if you will and what I can bring to them.”
Johnston expects to meet with Alberta Seniors and Housing Minister Josephine Pon, Community and Social Services Minister Jason Luan and Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Mike Ellis, who are taking part in a caucus meeting in Calgary.
“The province has additional questions about the site being recommended and our meeting tomorrow is to provide the information needed. We know this is a big decision; it took a lot of hard work to get here,” said Johnston in his official statement Monday.
“At the end of the day, this is a provincial project, and they need to have all the information available to decide whether they will support our recommended site or not.”
Johnston said he recessed Monday’s council meeting, rather than adjourn it, and it will resume at 9 a.m. on Thursday when a location is expected to be announced soon after.
“I’m confident that the community has done the consultation, done the deliberations, we’ve had several special council meetings and so on. We’ve done our work and I’m anticipating now the province will do theirs.”
Council was presented with 12 possible shelter sites in mid-August – 10 of those sites were eliminated during an in-camera meeting. Six other possible sites were later added, which brought the total to eight.
During Aug 29’s closed meeting, a technical assessment was done on each of these sites. The results were brought back to council and given further review before shortlisting three to five.