Visitors and residents of Calgary’s downtown core are likely to notice more peace officers in the area over the next couple of years, thanks to a new initiative aimed at improving safety.
The Stephen Avenue Safety Hub is a central, downtown location where officers from the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Community Standards and Calgary Transit will co-ordinate their efforts as part of a two-year pilot project.
The hub isn’t meant to be a police station, but instead a place where officers can complete paperwork, store equipment and have facilities such as restrooms.
“Over the past few years, we have been open to the conversation of a police facility returning to the core. However, the costs have been prohibitive, and it had not been part of our strategic facility planning given other pressures,” said District 1 Insp. Clare Smart.
“As a result, there had not been a feasible option for immediate consideration until we were presented with this generous opportunity. This facility will open doors to new possibilities, stronger partnerships and more community engagement.”
The hub, located at 230 8 Ave. S.W., is rent-free for the organizations, with the space being donated for one year by Slate Asset Management and the Calgary Downtown Association.
Operational costs of $2.5 million over two years have been allocated by Calgary city council, the city said.
“The Downtown Ambassador program, a partnership between the city and the Calgary Downtown Association to provide a welcoming and safe presence downtown, is also being funded for the next two years.”
The city said the hub will not be a public reporting place at any point during the pilot project. People should still report incidents through the non-emergency line at 403-266-1234, at the District 1 police station at 1010 26 Ave. S.E., or online. If an emergency is in progress, people are still advised to call 911.