The temporary out-of-the-cold shelter at Bishop’s Court in Fredericton did not open as planned on Thursday.
The community action group on homelessness said in a press conference that they were given the go-ahead from city hall to open. But the mayor denied these claims and on Thursday said the shelter has to follow zoning and municipal laws.
“Just by my participation in a meeting and even my own excitement, everybody figured that we could make this work,” said Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien.
The out-of-the-cold shelter at Bishop’s Court was created by local businesses, charities and community members.
Faith McFarland of the community action group on homelessness said they were given definite assurances regarding the regulatory laws of opening a temporary shelter despite the zoning being non-compliant to municipal laws.
“We knew that going into this that it wouldn’t fit. We were just given the assurance that it would be handled,” said McFarland.
And she says the mayor himself said they would open on time. McFarland says it’s now time for the city to solve this issue.
“I think through everybody’s excitement and enthusiasm, just maybe assumed that zoning was OK or if it wasn’t, it could be changed,” said O’Brien.
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The mayor said he will reach out to the community action group about their planning advisory committee application.
The group says after the delay, they have firm plans to withdraw the application for the temporary variance use of the church as a shelter.