Published: July 19, 2017
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
Municipal leaders approved a plan this week to move the Red Lake Area Emergency Shelter (RLAES) onto Howey Street.
Meeting for their monthly Regular Council Meeting on July 17 Councillors passed a resolution in support of a Planning Advisory Committee motion to rezone 220 Howey Street to an Industrial classification, making way for renovations to begin on the property later this month.
“I feel this is a very progressive move for our community,” said Executive Director Janalee Jodouin after the meeting. “I can only hope that this will prompt further conversation and understanding in our community regarding homelessness, mental health, addiction, and the multitude of other reasons individuals find themselves on the shelter’s doorstep.”
Presenting to council before the vote Jodouin reviewed user statistics that show a significant decrease in transient users of the facility and a decline in nightly stays. The presentation package also included impact letters from current neighbours of the facility and the Residential Facility Inspection Report received by the Northwestern Heath Unit citing noticeable mould odor and overcrowded sleeping areas.
Richard Cameron, who also appeared as a delegation and who is a homeowner on Birks Drive, told those gathered he had received further information on the Good Neighbourhood Agreement planning process and called on Mayor Phil Vinet to assist in facilitating the agreement.
“If possible, I would also like to see the agreement, once finalized, be attached to the title as Ray Hall had suggested at the Planning Advisory Committee meeting. This would provide continuity in the case where the shelter employees were to change or there is a dispute to be resolved,” said Cameron adding, “I would like to thank council for hearing the concerns of taxpayers in the neighbourhood and offering their support. It shows leadership and ownership and is necessary to ensure the shelter is a community asset going forward.”
Councillors took turns providing comments and asking questions before voting with Councillor Carol Baron noting:
“I don’t think anybody is questioning about you moving. It is just that they want peace of mind that everything is going to be ok and that you are all going to fit into the neighbourhood.”
Taking a recess from the meeting Mayor Vinet spoke with the delegations privately to address the request to facilitate.