MCL Loses Appeal of New Shelter Beds in McCauley
On December 8, the McCauley Community League lost its appeal of the construction and operation of a 51-bed temporary shelter in McCauley proposed by the Hope Mission.
The beds in the shelter are located in two trailers beside the Herb Jamieson Centre and are now able to operate for at least the next two years.
In its appeal to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB), the League didn’t dispute the need for emergency shelter beds. Rather, the League argued the development officer erred in approving this discretionary use for this site. Most importantly, the League argued that shelter beds and affordable housing projects should be distributed more equitably throughout the city.
The League’s view was based on 6 points: 1) loss of parking – that this would worsen the parking problems in McCauley; 2) fear this would become a permanent site for a shelter; 3) inadequate notification of businesses affected by the development; 4) negative impact of variances allowed by the development officer; 5) contrary to the spirit of the moratorium; and 6) lack of consultation with the McCauley community.
The rejection of the League’s appeal wasn’t surprising as the SDAB has narrow grounds for accepting an appeal.
While the new shelter beds are funded by the Province, the new development is contrary to the spirit of the moratorium on City-funded social housing projects in five inner city neighbourhoods which City Council adopted in April of 2016.
At the time, Mayor Iveson said: “I’m going to expect leadership from the council. You’re going to get it from me. We’re going to need to be building housing all over the city.”
The concentration of non-market housing in vulnerable inner city neighbourhoods has been controversial for over eight years.
Wendy Aasen, former League president and current member of the League’s zoning committee, was “profoundly disappointed” by the decision.
“In its presentation to the SDAB, Hope Mission claimed ownership of a portion of McCauley and delineated boundaries. This area includes residences and businesses. Clearly Hope Mission has not adopted a strategy that will facilitate serving homeless clients throughout Edmonton,” she says.
“What a missed opportunity to try something new and innovative with these beds.”
There is a rumour that the Salvation Army and Boyle Street Community Centre are developing new non-market housing projects in the neighbourhoods covered by the City’s moratorium.
Phil is President of the McCauley Community League.