Friday , 21 January 2022

Update on temporary homeless camp presented to Lac La Biche County Council

An update report on the temporary homeless camp project has been presented to Lac La Biche County.

Homelessness issues and the location of homeless camps is a consistent source of conflict within the community says Darrell Lessmeister Associated CAO Recreation and Community Services with Lac La Biche County.

The report was presented to elected officials in Lac La Biche County on September 28. Lessmeister says the process of dismantling and removing the vulnerable population from homeless camps is difficult for the vulnerable population, County staff and the community.

“The temporary homeless camp project provides an opportunity to work with and build relationships with the Metis Nation of Alberta (MNA) as we move together toward a better solution for the community,” Lessmeister said.

On July 13, 2021 County Council reviewed MNA’s request to partner with The County to provide a temporary homeless camp in Bonesville Subdivision. County council passed the following motion: “That Lac La Biche Council approve of a one-year lease to Metis Nation of Alberta Region 1 for the purpose of a homeless camp on Lac La Biche County property, in Bonesville Subdivision, Plan Number 8021044.”

Lessmeister says administration has been working with MNA to move the temporary homeless camp forward.

“As of last week, MNA has notify administration that they were able to meet our lease requirement of providing General Liability Insurance and will be forwarding the County a signed lease agreement,” Lessmeister said. “In working with MNA, they plan to complete the following with the temporary homeless camp: Clean the area of debris, scrubs and dangerous trees; Set up an entrance gate and concrete barriers (to control who comes and goes); County provide a dumpster for the removal of garbage and debris; County provide Porta-Potties; MNA is constructing 2 – 12” by 16” portable shacks to be utilized in the temporary homeless camp.”

Lessmeister told Council that, “As indicated in previous memo and correspondence, the temporary homeless camp will only have a
one-year lease to bridge the gap of setting up a transitional house and wrap around services in Lac La Biche County.”

“As the weather starts to turn colder, there is more of a need to get the temporary homeless camp into place,” Lessmeister said. “It is also understood that the temporary homeless camp will not meeting the requirements of a development permit and that this is only temporary to avoid homeless camps being set up throughout the community, that often comes in conflict with residents or business.”

The temporary homeless camp is intended to be a temporary space, providing a stable location for the homeless population until the
Transitional Housing Project is operational, Lessmeister added.

Lessmeister says the Metis Nation of Alberta, and Region 1 will take responsibility for ensuring residents of the camp are registered, maintain order, and the camp will meet the Community Standards Bylaw.

This project is in line with County strategic goal of Social Wellness, wherein the County will have safe communities and support the diverse needs of our citizens Lessmeister says and have a financial implication of $60,000.

2021 costs will be taken from the current operating budget, and 2022 costs to be budgeted in the 2022 operating budget.

“Administration is working with MNA with the lease agreement,” Lessmeister says and is planning to have the lease signed and
completed early next week.

Administration has placed a dumpster for the cleaning of the property and working with MNA to clear scrub, small trees and dangerous trees in the area.

“Administration will be placing Porta-Potties on site and coordinating with FCSS to provide transportation to a from site,” Lessmeister said. “Communicating and working with MNA, Administration will be working with MNA to communicate with residents in the Bonesville subdivision.”

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About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.