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Regina residents concerned about planned emergency shelter on Pioneer Drive

About 100 people attended a public meeting held by Government of Saskatchewan officials on Monday night. The plans for a new complex needs emergency shelter were discussed. (Halyna Mihalik/CBC - image credit)
About 100 people attended a public meeting held by Government of Saskatchewan officials on Monday night. The plans for a new complex needs emergency shelter were discussed. (Halyna Mihalik/CBC - image credit)

Some residents of Regina's McNab and Rosemont Mount Royal neighbourhoods are concerned about the conversion of a former Saskatchewan Health Authority facility to an emergency shelter near their homes

About 100 people attended a public meeting held by the provincial government to discuss its plans to convert the facility  at 430 Pioneer Drive into a temporary emergency shelter pilot site for those with complex needs.

Steven Nikulak, the chair of the McNab Community Association, said the location planned for the shelter is too close to two daycares and a seniors home.

"I think it was poor planning on the part of whoever decided just to put it next to a daycare, another daycare a block away and right in the middle of vulnerable seniors, " Nikulak said.

Alex Tkach, the chair of the Rosemont Mount Royal Community Association, said he fears the shelter will have negative impacts on his community.

"We're not equipped to deal with that, and we already have issues with people rifling through yards and alleys. Needles in parks are very real things that our community is already struggling with," Tkach said.

Provincial officials say they hear the residents' concerns, but will not change the location for the shelter, which is set to open early next winter.

Lack of government transparency: resident

Tkach was upset with what he called the lack of transparency from the provincial government about their plans for the new shelter. He said only people within 300 metres of the new shelter location were notified of the plans to build the shelter on Pioneer Drive.

"A big point to make when it comes to why there needs to be a discussion, because anything of this nature, I would argue, needs broader community engagement so folks aren't surprised by it, which was very much the case," Tkach said.

"Even being in the position that I am within Rosemont Mount Royal, we weren't even notified that this was happening."

Community members from the McNab and Rosemont Mount Royal neighborhoods aired their concerns about the plans for the new shelter.
Community members from the McNab and Rosemont Mount Royal neighborhoods aired their concerns about the plans for the new shelter.

Community members from the McNab and Rosemont Mount Royal neighbourhoods air their concerns about plans for a new emergency shelter. (Halyna Mihalik/CBC)

Coun. Shanon Zachidniak (Ward 8) attended the meeting where she heard residents and business owners air concerns about the new shelter.

"I think it's totally fair that folks have concerns," Zachidniak said. "There's a lot of unknowns, and I heard a commitment from those who were here today on behalf of the province that those concerns would be taken back and that they would be considered and, hopefully, it is a top priority."

The shelter's aim is to provide up to 15 people in crisis with a safe place to stabilize while being monitored by health-care professionals for up to 24 hours for the negative effects of alcohol or drugs. There will be security on site, according to provincial officials.