The Subdivision and Development Appeals Board approved the reconstruction of the: "Herb Jamieson center", located at 10014 105 Avenue, a social housing that will accommodate a maximum of 400 people each night.
After hearing both arguments, the board voted in favour of the development of the project. However, it will take 15 days for the agreement to become official.
Despite strong opposition from the surrounding community, the Hope Mission has been granted permission to expand one of its homeless shelters at the centre of the city.
The current construction accommodates 350 people each night, and an additional 50 can stay in two trailers located in the property's parking lot.
It is under these conditions that "Hope Mission" would have recently requested permission to demolish the shelter and replace it with a new facility that will become the first 24/7 homeless shelter.
Obviously the project contemplates the construction of a building with much better infrastructure and services with spaces designed in a much practical way than the present one. The new lodge even contemplates a roof garden of very sophisticated landscaping.
One of the arguments in favour of the construction was given by Jim Odishaw, a council member of Hope Mission, who said that in the new building: "People could grow vegetables or fruits, or have a barbecue outdoors, so the people will not be in the street potentially causing disruption".
It should be noted that community groups and nearby businesses felt differently about the issue.
Phil O'Hara, president of the McCauley Community League, said: "It is not right to allow such an expansion, arguing that it should be postponed until Edmonton sketches its new social welfare strategy, as the main goal of the city should be to get The people of the street although it takes longer, instead of adding more physical spaces to the temporary shelter.
"In the same way, I think that we must work on projects that increase employment, training and provide affordable housing instead of investing in the creation of a new shelter."
He stated that: "We agreed that we need support and housing services for people who are vulnerable in the community, but the expansion of this shelter is inconsistent with the direction the city is going."
Brenda Chao, owner of the Garden Bakery in Chinatown, said: "This is a temporary shelter, and therefore will discourage homeless people from spending their days in the Chinatown area."
Likewise I express: "These people are a social threat many times because they sleep on the sidewalks, urinate or defecate in public areas, consume drugs, vandalize the walls, stalls and unfortunately all this impacts in a very negative way to all businesses located in the area. "
Now independent of the arguments previously given, the decision was made thanks to a very important piece of information and is that: "only about 4 percent of the users of the shelter are regular clients who need a supportive home." The other: "96 percent are people at social risk who need a space to sleep before heading to the north or west where they integrate into new work place."
As always and in all cases, it seems that the only pending issue is the financing.
Hope Mission will request to the government to fund $ 8 million for the $ 16 million total cost project.
The other $ 8 million will come from fundraising efforts and the project estimates to have the new building operational by 2019.
Dear reader, you may agree or disagree with the project, but let me point out one thing, and it is undoubtedly that this location will offer protection, shelter and security to the most destitute Edmontonians during our long, cold and snowed winters.