Everyone deserves a warm place to go at night. The City of Wetaskiwin reinforced that point recently when council approved funding to reopen and operate an emergency shelter in the Civic Building for the city’s homeless community.

Emergency shelter in Wetaskiwin a benefit to the community as a whole

Shelter presence results in large reduction in hospital visits, police calls for service

Keeping members of Wetaskiwin’s homeless community out of the cold is an action City councillors feel strongly about.

That’s why they voted last week to dedicate up to $65,000 to cover the operational costs from opening through March 31, 2020 for an emergency shelter at the Civic building. City administrators will be working with one of two organizations, Hope Mission or the Lighthouse Church, to get the shelter up and running quickly with the cold weather already here.

“While setting up an emergency shelter again for our vulnerable population is a great first step, it remains just that – a first step,” said Mayor Tyler Gandam. “The City will continue to seek financial support from the provincial government, as well as from neighbouring communities.”

Time is of the essence

Both service provider groups provided council with their estimated costs for what it would take to operate the shelter. But due to the cold weather Wetaskiwin is expecting – the forecast calls for minus temperatures overnight all this week – the City plans to give preference to the group that is able to get the shelter up and running in the shortest amount of time.

Shelter’s presence eased hospital workload

The shelter in the Civic building was open for three months early this year, starting Feb. 5, and its presence had a significant effect on the work done by emergency services providers. Not only was there a large decrease in the number of calls for service received by the RCMP while the shelter was open, local hospital visits were also reduced, according to Alberta Health Services.

Making it work for all parties

The presence of the shelter in the Civic building was not without its challenges, notes Mayor Gandam, which is why the City will work hard to address specific issues that arose during the opening earlier this year.

“Council recognizes there were also challenges experienced by the greater community while the shelter was open, including increased loitering and public intoxication in Wetaskiwin’s downtown core,” he says. “Our commitment to keeping Wetaskiwin a secure, connected, and inclusive community remains a priority, and we will be working with those impacted by the location of the shelter.”

Long-term plan to be worked out

Also at the Nov. 12 council meeting, City Administration was directed by Council to examine broader, long-term solutions for addressing community issues such as homelessness, mental health and addictions. A full report is expected to be brought before Council by April 27, 2020. You can watch for updates at wetaskiwin.ca and follow what’s new at the City’s Facebook page.

Just Posted

Photo submitted/ Rita-anne Fuss
Distancing Diamond Project in Millet for mental health

Distancing Diamonds allow for social distancing community gathering.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed more than 1,000 cases over the weekend Monday afternoon. File photo
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

The death of 19-year-old Jacob Michael Chitze of Edmonton has now been ruled a homicide following an ongoing RCMP investigation.
UPDATE: RCMP arrest youth for second degree murder of 19-year-old Jacob Chitze

Arrest made for the murder of Jacob Michael Chitze, 19.

Pumpkins for the 46th Annual WDACS Pumpkin Ball on display at Vision Credit Union Wetaskiwin. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
46th Annual Pumpkin Ball held virtually this year

This year the pumpkins were sold over a six-day online auction.

Manny’s Motel demolition underway. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
Manny’s Motel demolition underway

The property has been vacant since the fire that destroyed most of the structure Jan.14, 2020.

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join AUPE walk outs across the province Monday Oct. 26, 2020. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
City of Wetaskiwin health-care workers strike in protest of province-wide cuts

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join other front line hospital workers across the province in walk-outs.

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted
Front-line health care workers on strike across the province, including Rimbey Hospital

The strike is due to cut of 11,000 health care jobs in the province, according to AUPE

(Black Press file photo)
Maskwacis RCMP welcomes new detachment commander

The Maskwacis RCMP detachment has a new detachment commander, Inspector Leanne MacMillan.… Continue reading

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday October 22, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were ‘late and confused’ on COVID response

He says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has taken charge and not waited to make things happen

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

A lawsuit filed by environmental law firm Ecojustice argues the inquiry is politically motivated

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

Most Read