Saskatoon emergency shelter location recommended for Wednesday’s council meeting

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Saskatoon emergency shelter location recommended for council meeting
WATCH: The province is looking to add two complex needs shelters, helping people with mental health and addictions issues. As Global's Easton Hamm reports, the recently shared location of a new shelter is rubbing one business the wrong way. – Nov 16, 2023

Saskatoon City Council will next Wednesday be asked to approve 1701 Idylwyld Dr. N. as the location for a 15-person temporary emergency residential shelter.

The temporary emergency residential shelter is on the table for Saskatoon City Council because the provincial government has submitted an application for one of its shelters to be located on Idylwyld Drive North.

The province is creating two complex needs emergency shelters, one in Saskatoon and the other in Regina, as part of its strategy to combat homelessness.

Click to play video: 'Homelessness a complex issue: Saskatoon police'
Homelessness a complex issue: Saskatoon police

The approval report slated for Wednesday’s city council meeting says the Ministries of Health and Corrections are bringing in a third-party service provider to run the facilities.

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Recommendations in the report have the Idylwyld Drive North location being green-lit as a shelter for up to 18 months.

“The facility will provide onsite health care personnel and supervision and offer a safe place for individuals to stabilize while being monitored for up to 24 hours. The application states that individuals would be brought to the facility by Saskatoon Police Services and would not self-refer. Prior to leaving the facility, individuals will be provided an opportunity to connect with community services, such as addictions treatment, shelter and financial support,” the report said.

The location for the proposed emergency residential shelter in Saskatoon.
The location for the proposed emergency residential shelter in Saskatoon. City of Saskatoon

It was noted that this location could become permanent if other requirements around the zoning bylaw and building permits are met.

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The report also outlined the ways that it has engaged with the public to let them know about this shelter:

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  • notification of the proposal was provided via mailed flyer in mid-November to a 300-metre radius of the property
  • members of the public could submit correspondence to a central email address
  • administration and the applicant would consider the received correspondence and work to mitigate noted concerns; detailed, individual responses to correspondence were not provided
  • a webpage related to Shelter Spaces has been created which includes a list of common questions and answers
  • members of the public would be able to register to speak to City Council at the Regular Meeting or submit correspondence directly via the City Clerk’s Office

In the notice provided in the report, it said that the goal was to have this shelter up and running this winter in early 2024.

Tony Badger is the owner of Churchill’s British Café and Food Emporium, which is located right next to the former liquor store that is slated to become this shelter and had some concerns.

“In principle, certainly not opposed to shelters for homeless folk and certainly people with needs.”

He said he sees that there’s an evident need for these shelters, but wondered if the location for this shelter wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction, adding that they’ve already been dealing with issues in the area.

Click to play video: 'Coun. Darren Hill calls for public consultations during shelter search'
Coun. Darren Hill calls for public consultations during shelter search

“As a business owner, knowing over the last four years we’ve had smashed windows, we’ve had break-ins. On a weekly basis we’re finding needles out back of our business, people are sleeping out back already.”

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He said he received a letter on Wednesday about the shelter and hasn’t had any consultation yet, but said there’s already been work done on the building slated for the shelter.

“That’s alarming that there’s a consultation process when it seems it’s already been decided.”

Badger feels this will be devastating to his business.

He said he also has a business in Edmonton with a shelter two blocks away and they’ve been contending with issues like break-ins and stealing.

Badger said he’ll be at the meeting on Wednesday, saying he would like to see a tax rebate of some sort to have extra staff on hand to keep an eye on things.

“I really wish there had been a true consultation process and that there was a real plan and not just a knee-jerk reaction.”

Gordon Taylor, executive director with Salvation Army in Saskatoon, said it was good that there were new shelter beds being put in place.

“We do need more,” Taylor said.

He said as far as the location, it had good access to bus routes and was accessible.

“The sooner it opens the better. I know we’re all struggling with the cold weather coming to make sure there’s enough places for people to be to get out of the cold, so if that one’s going to open soon we welcome the partner.”


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