Letters to the Editor

Opinion: Keep Red Deer temporary shelter open until new location can be found

Kath Hoffman’s interview in the Advocate on July 23 has spurred me to finish this letter that I began a couple days ago.

First I would like to thank our mayor and the councillors that voted to hold another public hearing on this matter in order for the shelter staff to provide further input. Unfortunately the rest of council failed to see the solid reasoning for it and voted to reject another hearing. As a result the downtown business owners, shoppers, and residents are in for a very rude awakening if this shelter is forced to close. The term “you ain’t seen nothing yet comes to mind” as the downtown situation will only get worse.

To councillors who opposed and the downtown business owners I ask the question: Just what do you expect if the shelter is forced to close before a new location is found? Do you actually think that this problem will end then?

Rest assured that it will not. It will be even more difficult to deal with and the businesses and their patrons will only suffer more.

The shelter must remain open in it’s current location until a permanent location is found and readied for use. The only thing accomplished by moving the shelter at this time would be a terrible waste of money that would be much better spent helping the homeless especially if the city purchases property for a temporary move and would move the problem from one group in order to anger another. That makes no sense at all. A new permanent location needs to be found before any move!

Now don’t get me wrong on this – the downtown business owners, shoppers, and residents (of which I am one) deserve a lot better from council and policing.

Garbage pick-up has improved and the downtown toilets are a positive thing and not only for homeless people.

What happened to the regular foot and bike patrols? While we do see the occasional foot or bike patrol it is far from being regular. Believe it or not their presence on a regular basis eases many downtown problems.

I am sure that many residents would like the opportunity to discuss and share real ideas, not just complain.

I also have to wonder why there has been no mention of examining successful initiatives in other cities; Medicine Hat for one and learning from them.

Again I would like to thank our forward and positive thinking mayor and the council members who do have the ability to see the further damage that can/will be caused by a closure of this shelter before a new location is ready.

We cannot expect all council members to be on the same page at all times but we should expect common sense in our civic leaders. Oh, wait. I forgot that we have an election coming up. I would bet that some new blood would sure help.

For now keep this shelter where it is until a permanent location is found and ready for occupancy.

Joe Thompson, Red Deer

Red Deer City CouncilRedDeer