A broader community strategy to share information and craft solutions in the areas The City has influence on with the permanent shelter will be developed in the coming month. Today, during their special meeting, Council gave administration direction to build on the engagement done so far with downtown property owners, businesses, associations, and service providers.
“Council is in a position that we will have to make a generational decision about the location and overarching design guidelines of the permanent shelter in Red Deer, and this is a decision we do not take lightly,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “When the time comes, we need to make sure we not only have all the information about the services and site needed to make the right decision, but also that people who are impacted by the decision have had the opportunity to be involved in the decision-making process through further engagement. The permanent shelter is a provincially-led and owned project with long-term impacts on our community, and we want to make sure our community is heard, and The City is doing everything possible in the areas we can influence.”
During their meeting Council received a presentation about the seven targeted meetings administration and a third-party engagement specialist hosted to develop an understanding as to what downtown property owners, businesses, associations, and service providers think about how the process has gone so far, and how they want to continue to be involved in conversations moving forward. These conversations helped lead administration to put forward the recommendation of further public engagement prior to putting forward any Land Use Bylaw recommendations for Council consideration.
“Coming out of those meetings, we know there is support for a shelter in our community, it is needed. We heard we need to keep momentum and close information differentials. We also heard that our community wants to help and come together to develop solutions. We are committing to continuing to build on this common ground to engage to rebuild trust and move forward together to find the right solution for a permanent shelter in our community alongside the province,” said Interim City Manager Tara Lodewyk. “We will bring back the full plan for public participation before April 15, 2022. I do know that our approach will be purposeful, collaborative and transparent. At the end of the day, we want people to know that when they’re contributing, they help to influence a decision and truly believe that.”
Administration will put together a full engagement strategy to present for Council’s consideration in early April. If approved, the plan will be implemented immediately after.
“We are looking forward to the community engagement plan. We recognize this level of engagement isn’t something we can do with every project in our community, but a permanent shelter that has such wide community impact, is one that we can get behind,” said Mayor Johnston. “Council is committed to all aspects of community revitalization, and supporting our vulnerable population is a piece of that. When the final touches go on the permanent shelter, we want to look back and know that we did everything in our power to influence the areas we have control over, and that our community was part of the decision-making process.”
For more information on shelter services in Red Deer, please visit www.reddeer.ca/shelter.
For more information, please contact:
The City of Red Deer