On the same day the Mayor of Edmonton met with Premier Jason Kenney and Justice Minister Tyler Shandro about the issue, City Council voted in favor of the next steps in an initiative to improve safety at the downtown.
Councilors voted unanimously to ask city administrators and the Edmonton Police Commission to develop a business plan for an initiative called Healthy Streets Operation Centre.
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The center would serve as a hub for various services in Chinatown, where many social agencies are located.
Com. Tim Cartmell presented the motion which was voted on Monday.
“I think we’ll find exactly what is the right resource to respond to the issues and concerns that people see in the moment, whether it’s an addiction counselor, a mental health worker, a a firefighter or a paramedic,” he said. “What more – most – do we need right now.
“It’s an opportunity to pilot this and learn from it.”
The municipal administration is now responsible for determining the operating cost of such a centre.
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It’s the latest development in the city’s bid to address security issues in the heart of Edmonton, an issue that came into the spotlight after the murders of two men in Chinatown last month.
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In late May, Shandro ordered Mayor Amarjeet Sohi to present him with a plan for how the city plans to address crime and disorder. Details of this plan were released on June 9.
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Sohi said her meeting on Monday with Shandro, Kenney and Labor and Immigration Minister Kaycee Madu was long and productive. The province’s director of law enforcement also provided an outline of Alberta’s response to Edmonton’s plan, however, officials said that outline would not be shared publicly as a dialogue between the province and the city aiming to refine it continues.
In a statement released Monday by the provincial government, the province also called the meeting “productive.”
“Mayor Sohi provided an overview of the City of Edmonton’s requests for social support,” the statement read. “They include implementing minimum shelter standards, equitable funding for shelter capacity and to support local plans to end homelessness, as well as coordinating a release plan for people vulnerable and supports to deal with the drug poisoning crisis.
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“Both parties are committed to discussing these issues further.”
“We spent almost an hour and a half today…talking about their review of our security plan,” Sohi said.
“There is a desire for the province and the city to work together towards a common goal of building safer communities.
–With files from Morgan Black, Global News
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