Boyle Street Community Services’ plans for new Edmonton location face opposition – Edmonton

Renovations on a building that will be the new home for an organization that works with Edmonton’s impoverished and homeless residents are slated to begin soon, but Boyle Street Community Services’ plan to move is met with opposition from some.

“Their current location is surrounded by vacant lots,” Alice Kos, a McCauley resident, told Global News on Monday. “Where they want to move, they will be surrounded by children and independent businesses.

“It makes a really big difference for me.”

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Kos is among a number of people – including other McCauley residents, the chairman of the Chinatown and Area Business Association and a representative of the National Federation of Ukraine in Edmonton – who signed their names under a press release expressing concerns about Boyle Street’s move plan are commenting on its new location in the fall of 2023. Kos and a number of others who put their names in the press release are also parents to children attending the Victoria School of the Arts, which is just one block from their future Boyle Street home .

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The press release, which was also sent to councillors, notes that many of the people Boyle Street works with struggle with mental illness, substance abuse and behavioral problems.

“BSCS provides essential services to vulnerable people,” the press release said. “McCauley is known for his inclusivity and compassion for those at risk. But it is beyond McCauley’s capacity to accommodate additional social amenities.

“McCauley can’t accommodate Edmonton’s largest day care center, especially within a block of the city’s largest K-to-12 school.”

Elliott Tanti, senior manager of communications and engagement at BSCS, acknowledged that the press release “shows that there is still more work to be done with the community.”

“But ultimately… we all want the same things. We want safer, more inclusive communities,” he said. “We have to work together to achieve these things.

“We understand there are some apprehensions about the move.”

Tanti said BSCS was looking for a new home because the organization’s current building is “falling apart”.

“It’s always flooded. It’s not suitable for the work we have to do. It is out of reach for our people.”

Noting that the new facility is only “a few blocks away” from the current one, he added that it’s important to note that the organization isn’t changing operations and has experience doing so.

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“We’re just moving existing services,” Tanti said. “This isn’t about additional resources or additional services, it’s about what we’re currently doing, just in a better way in a more accessible, inclusive facility.

“I think there are a lot of factors affecting safety in downtown Edmonton right now. And that’s why we as a society, as a city, have to be solution-oriented – and that’s why a facility like this new building for Boyle Street is exactly the kind of solution we need to address the significant concerns of the community.”

Critics of the facility’s move from near Rogers Place Arena to 10010-107 A Ave. also expressed concern over the recent killings in Chinatown, where the man accused of the murder was deported in that area because of its proximity to social services for people recently released from detention.

READ MORE: Chinatown killings suspect dismissed despite conditions by RCMP in West Edmonton

Critics of the move also said members of the McCauley and Chinatown communities were not properly consulted about the proposed move and said they only found out about it a day before it was announced to the media.

BSCS said it plans to participate in ongoing community engagement with the initiative.

Critics of the move, who wrote the latest press release, said they believe the new location will see too much concentration of resources for vulnerable Edmontonians in one community.

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“All 375 Edmonton boroughs should be expected to show the same inclusion and compassion as McCauley did,” the press release reads. “And BSCS needs city and provincial support to find alternative homes.”

“The problem is that due to the concentration of services in this area, we already have problems of social disorder,” Kos said. “Three weeks ago, a woman attacked my three-year-old daughter with a hatchet when my husband was walking with her to pick up my son from school.

“I was at the crosswalk with my son.[We]saw a man who was clearly in an altered state of mind … approached students and yelled in their faces as they came off their bus stop to get to school.”

Hon Leong, the chair of the Chinatown Transformation Collaborative, said the new site’s proximity to young students is one of his concerns, along with what he sees as the new BSCS site’s potential to transform Chinatown for people shopping and want to eat makes .

“Chinatown relies on 101 Street, and specifically 105 Avenue, 106 Avenue, and 107 Avenue addresses, to get to Chinatown,” he said. “So 105, there’s some social services there currently, along 106 you have Hope Mission, and now we’re talking about 107, Boyle Street Community Services.

CONTINUE READING: Boyle Street Community Services in downtown Edmonton are moving to a new home

“You can see how those three main thoroughfares to get to Chinatown are being clogged by some of the people who are going to be visiting those places.”

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In December 2021, BSCS announced its plans to relocate after a deal with Oilers Entertainment Group. OEG agreed to purchase the current Boyle Street property for $5 million, while the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation would donate $10 million towards the new center’s $28.5 million cost .

–With files by Sarah Komadina and Nicole Stillger, Global News

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Boyle Street Community Services in downtown Edmonton are moving to a new home

Boyle Street Community Services in downtown Edmonton are moving to a new home – December 15, 2021

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. Boyle Street Community Services’ plans for new Edmonton location face opposition – Edmonton


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