Edmonton’s Ice District Properties creates new outdoor space for Boyle Street Community Services

Click to play video: 'Boyle Street Community Services gets facelift care of Ice District' Boyle Street Community Services gets facelift care of Ice District
WATCH ABOVE: Staff are hopeful a small facelift to the exterior of the Boyle Street community Services building will make a big difference in how they connect with clients. Margeaux Maron explains – Jul 16, 2019

Boyle Street Community Services got an exterior facelift on Tuesday thanks to their neighbours down the street.

The vacant dirt lot just west of Boyle Street’s building is owned by Ice District Properties and staffers from the real estate giant wanted to ensure it was put to good use.

“I passed by our property and it just kind of struck me that [Boyle Street Community Services] had all of their clients out in the front where I know it’s not safe for them,” said Shauna Vogel with The Katz Group.
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After collaborating with the social services organization, it was decided the lot would be used as a semi-private park space for Boyle Street clients to access year-round.

“For us lawyers and accountants, it’s nice to get out and do some physical labour,” Vogel said.

Ice District office staff, along with some of their trades suppliers, relevelled and resurfaced the lot, added repurposed flower planters from the old Baccarat Casino site and built a large fence to enclose the space on Tuesday.

“They felt it was really important that access be through Boyle Street,” Vogel said. “So we really wanted to work with them to ensure it was what they wanted and what they needed.”

On a busy day, dozens of community members can be found sitting out in front of Boyle Street.

Ian Mathieson with Boyle Street Community Services said directing people into the building to access the new outdoor space will increase face time between vulnerable Edmontonians and their staff.

“That way we kind of control the flow,” Mathieson said, “I think it will be an opportunity to provide supports even [outside].
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“It’s a programmable space, instead of our front walk which [is] not our turf in a way. It’s in front of our building but it’s city property.”

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The renovation was simple but Mathieson said he hopes it will make a big difference.

“It’s night and day,” Mathieson said. “We took a space that was a dead zone and turned it into a living space where people can be, and be active.”

Though Ice District Properties does have significant redevelopment plans for the area, including the new outdoor space, Vogel said it will be used by Boyle Street Community Services into the foreseeable future.


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