(Red Deer, Alberta) – Mitigation strategies responding to issues being faced in the Railyard neighbourhood will continue until the end of 2023. Tonight, Council approved $513,600 over two years to directly address concerns that business and property owners in the area have identified over the last few years. Also, approved today was the development permit for the temporary shelter at Cannery Row, the final step to allow operations until February 1, 2024.
“I want to let the businesses and property owners in the Railyards neighbourhood know that we’ve heard you, and we understand. The mitigation strategies are in response to the issues being faced by surrounding neighbours right now,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “What we need to remember is that we are planning for a fully integrated permanent shelter that transforms how we support the individuals who access it. The long-term vision will provide hope and dignity for those in need while also integrating into the community, and it’s going to take all of us coming to the table to be able to do that”
The mitigation strategies, originally approved in May 2021, are tactical implementations such as enhanced business and resident engagement, security, cleaning, and support for those who experience vandalism. During the public hearing for the Land Use Bylaw amendment on January 17, Council heard that the Railyard area is facing safety and cleanliness issues and therefore an extension of the funding was approved.
Administration is collaborating with the operator of the temporary shelter, as well as the property owner of Cannery Row to find ways to adjust the building exterior site design to make measurable improvements. Now that the temporary shelter will continue operating for two years at Cannery Row, the property owner has also expressed a willingness to invest capital money to support a positive integration and relationship building with surrounding neighbours.
“There has been a lot of unknowns about the temporary shelter over the past year, and it has put a lot of pressure on the operator and the property owner, and our most vulnerable residents who rely on the service. Not knowing if they’ll be able to keep the doors open has mental and financial impacts on all those involved,” said Mayor Johnston. “The decision to allow for the operations at Cannery Row, as well as the mitigation strategies, will support our vulnerable population and surrounding neighbours while we work through the process of getting the permanent shelter built and operational.”
The potential location for the permanent shelter was released on January 13. The first step in the process is zoning, and a recommendation will go to Council in February to amend the Land Use Bylaw that would allow for the shelter to be built at the proposed site. If first reading is approved, public consultation will occur as well as a Public Hearing where citizens will have the opportunity to speak directly to Council.
For more information on the temporary and permanent shelter processes, visit www.reddeer.ca/shelter.