Once again I’m ashamed to be Red Deerian.
Are we as citizens really willing to put members of our most vulnerable population out into the streets during a pandemic in the midst of the opiod crisis? This is what will happen if the temporary shelter is closed at the end of May.
I wish to be clear that I am not in favour of supporting Red Deer city council making the decision to close the temporary shelter at the former Cannery Row location.
I am not in favour of supporting downtown businesses that have the corporate power to get behind Safe Harbour Society and push for a permanent solution but chose to use their influence for their own interests.
I’m only a consumer, a voter, a taxpayer and a voice that won’t stay silent on this and neither should you.
As a taxpayer I’ve already paid for the retrofit of the current temporary shelter and do not want my tax dollar spent to retrofit a second temporary location, where ever it may be. The permanent solution is coming. How can we as citizens and business owners put the pressure on the province to move on the funding that was already committed to Red Deer in 2019.
It was argued that this is a business over compassion issue. Let’s be clear that this is a political pressure issue with an ethical implication. It was reported that 25 businesses downtown complained to the City of Red Deer about the shelter. The DBA lists 500 business members, that’s five per cent of the downtown businesses so 95 per cent of the businesses didn’t vote or don’t support this option.
I’m not saying there isn’t a problem. There are a lot of problems downtown Red Deer but let’s be mindful about the solutions we support.
In an Advocate article online on April 23, Safe Harbour pleaded with citizens to use our voices to support the shelter in its current location until a permanent location can be found. I’m responding to that request and I ask you to as well.
There is a petition online: Keep Safe Harbour’s Shelter Program Temporarily in Current Location at change.org.
Support leaders and businesses downtown that align with your principles and values. Stop supporting those that don’t. Be kind to those who are suffering.
Tanya Ward-Schur, Red Deer