The City of Wetaskiwin has approved a temporary warming shelter to be set up for this winter on the southside of Wetaskiwin. City council approved the proposal at the regular Sept. 13, 2021 council meeting. The status of the warming shelter is dependent on the securing of grant funding.
City council directed the Guiding Coalition on Homelessness’ Winter Shelter Subcommittee to set up a fenced encampment on the road allowance along 37A Avenue. This temporary warming shelter will be in place until March 31, 2022, based on grant funding provided to the city or FCSS.
The city says if adequate funding is received to cover the cost of the warming shelter, the site would also need to provide security with cultural sensitivity training, first aid and Narcan training, and cleaning services.
“The city will continue to work on this very complex situation in our community. We will be working to make improvements in our efforts and continue to partner with the Provincial and Federal Governments as well as our neighbouring communities to find solutions,” says Mayor Tyler Gandam.
“It’s not going to be easy and it won’t be resolved quickly.”
The 37A road allowance is under the city’s jurisdiction and does not require special zoning to allow for temporary shelter use. Because of this the city will not need to declare a State of Local Emergency to allow for the legal operation of the warming shelter at this location.
“Administration will continue to work with community partners on finding solutions that benefit our vulnerable population both in the short and long term,” says Paul Edginton, General Manager of Community & Protective Services with the City.
“Our team will continue to advise the Guiding Coalition of Homelessness to ensure that the learnings we have identified over the past year transfer to the operations of a temporary warming shelter this winter.”
The city states that it will continue to collaborate with local and regional partners and agencies to develop a framework that supports the community’s vulnerable population while ensuring community safety.