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City Council approves development permit for temporary shelter

December 18, 2023 8:24 PM
(Red Deer, Alberta)

The temporary shelter can continue to operate in its current location at Cannery Row (5239 53 Avenue) after City Council approved a new development permit at its regular meeting today.

Approval of the development permit application, submitted by Safe Harbour Society, the organization that operates the shelter, came on the heels of Land Use Bylaw (LUB) Amendment approved by City Council last week, in which they gave third reading to the bylaw following a public hearing. The temporary shelter is approved as a site exception under the LUB until May 1, 2025, with City Council named as the development authority.

“The temporary shelter is critical for those experiencing homelessness in our community, and approval of this development permit is necessary to ensure continuity of care for some of our city’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. "Today's development permit approval also comes with several conditions, which are aimed at improving the condition of the site for those located on and near the site. We know the topic of housing, homelessness and the provision of shelter is complex, but this decision is necessary as we continue to work with the Province of Alberta to develop a future permanent purpose built shelter in Red Deer.”

A site exception in the LUB and a Development Permit are both required for the temporary shelter to continue operating.

With approval of the development permit application, City Council also approved conditions that include:

  • Any revisions to approved plans are reviewed by the Development Authority.
  • Repair or reinstate, or pay for the repair or reinstatement, to original condition, any public property, street furniture, curbing, boulevard landscaping and tree planting or any other property owned by the City which is damaged, destroyed or otherwise harmed by development or construction on the site.
  • Replacing the existing metal fence along the east courtyard, with an 8’ high non-climbable mini-mesh steel screen material.
  • Installing signage, including but not limited to wayfinding and onsite rules and expectations, to define boundaries and provide direction to site visitors.
  • Installing a minimum of 4 bear-proof garbage receptacles, which incorporate art, throughout the north courtyard area.
  • Exploring options and implement a solution for the storage of personal belongings, possibly including the existing sea-can and potential of relocation of it, to prevent the accumulation of personal belongings and unsightliness in the courtyards.
  • Providing 24/7 on-site security of the outdoor gathering area, including maintaining a monitored security system. The Applicant shall review the existing surveillance system to determine gaps in coverage.
  • Maintaining the site, including multiple daily outside inspections and clean-up of the parking lot, grassy areas, and courtyard.

Along with the development permit and conditions, Council has directed administration on the following:

  1. During the 2024 Budget deliberations, bring forward the option for additional dollars for the Downtown Business Association Clean Team and the Social Diversion Team for enhanced service in the Railyard neighbourhood;
  2. Bring the Greater Downtown and Railyards Neighbourhood Strategies to Council during the 2024 Budget deliberations to consider a plan to address pedestrian traffic flow in the Railyards neighbourhood; and
  3. Continue discussions with Safe Harbour leadership regarding the fence (condition #4 in development permit), pedestrian foot traffic, and other options for exploration regarding the property fencing parameters and access.

With approval of the development permit, the temporary shelter can continue to operate. The current site exception under the LUB will expire on May 1, 2025, at which time a new site exception and a new Development Permit would be required for Safe Harbour to continue operating at the current site.

The temporary shelter has operated at Cannery Row since March of 2020 under a site exception approved by City Council, with specific regulations, until February 1, 2024.

For more information about the temporary shelter, visit

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