The 24/7 Integrated Response Hub and emergency shelter have been in the Civic Building since November 2020. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.

The 24/7 Integrated Response Hub and emergency shelter have been in the Civic Building since November 2020. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.

City of Wetaskiwin revokes use of Civic Building as homeless shelter

The 24/7 Integrated Response Hub has been in the Civic Building since November 2020.

At the Monday May 10, 2021, regular City Council meeting, City of Wetaskiwin Council voted to revoke the Open Door’s 24/7 Integrated Response Hub and emergency shelter’s use of the downtown Civic Building.

“It was extremely tough, I think no matter how a person voted on Monday, you saw both sides of it. You saw the safety concerns, that feeling of safety that the businesses and the patrons of our downtown felt,” said Mayor Tyler Gandam.

“We also felt and saw the impact of what the hub was doing in terms of the programming available to the vulnerable clientele.”

Clients and operators of the Hub are now facing an uncertain future as the Open Door Association has less than 90 days to find a new location for the emergency shelter. A challenge which is only amplified by the fact that there are currently no locations in the Wetaskiwin area that have proper zoning for the Hub, which means that whatever location they choose will have to go through a zoning process before move in is possible.

At a zoom meeting hosted by the Leduc, Nisku and Wetaskiwin Regional Chamber of Commerce on May 13 for community discussion and presentations on the impact and goals of the Integrated Response Hub, Chief Inspector for the Wetaskiwin RCMP, Keith Durance stated that the local RCMP have already seen a decline in Wetaskiwin’s crime rates since the implementation of the Hub in November 2020.

Durance says that in the last six months the Wetaskiwin RCMP has seen 40 plus per cent less prisoners in the cell block and significantly less calls for service in relation to this client group.

During the meeting he reiterated that the homelessness, crime and addiction issues in Wetaskiwin is a multi-year issue that needs to be tackled if the city wants to see any improvement in the next decade.

He asked community members to look at the bigger picture and have patience with the process.

“It’s going to take a community’s effort until we can find a solution,” said Durance.

Over the past six months the Hub has offered support programs to 250 people out of the Civic Building. Although it was clear from the start to both parties that the city-owned building was a temporary location, the sudden timeline to move is a shock to the Open Door.

“The Open Door is extremely disappointed and appalled that the city would make a decision like this and that there are some councillors that feel that this is appropriate for clients,” said Jessica Hutton, executive director of the Open Door Association.

“Obviously, our stance is that these are humans that are very sick and need a lot of help. And with no place to go, we have monumental concerns about what’s going to happen to the population.”

Hutton said that the City’s decision has left them in limbo, with the potential of 280 people transitioning back into homelessness.

“There is no back up plan,” Hutton said at the Chamber hosted zoom meeting.

“We are feeling rather helpless right now as what to do because this is obviously our worst case scenario.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Sabrina Wilde in front of a recently purchased monster truck. Submitted.
Thorsby business women a finalist for 2021 Alberta Women’s Entrepreneurship Award

Sabrina Wilde with Lone Wolf Mechanical is a finalist for the entrepreneurial award.

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for the G7 Summit, at the airport in Newquay, United Kingdom, Thursday, June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Details on Canada’s vaccine sharing plan coming Sunday, up to 100 million doses

Canada’s high commissioner to the UK says details will come after the G7 summit

Most Read