Castlegar Shelter Operators Present to City Council

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If it's an immediate safety concern call RCMP, and if it's not immediate call the shelter.... That's part of the message from temporary winter shelter operators in their presentation to Castlegar city council earlier this week.

The shelter opened in Castlegar late 2020, but the Castlegar and District Community Services Society is expanding and moving operations following the purchase of the Flamingo Hotel.

While shelter operators set their record straight and addressed any community concerns or rumours on Monday, Councillor Cherryl MacLeod set council's record straight.

She says the number one misconception for her is that people tend to question or give council a hard time when city council doesn’t actually own any part of the Flamingo Hotel or control operations there.

Acting Mayor, Councillor Dan Rye, does however want to ensure that both entities can work together.

He inquired about a good-neighbour agreement, a memorandum of understanding for parties to share or a similar document to ensure partnership with the city, which operators said they would be willing support after checking in with nearby communities.

The 10-bed shelter will feature five rental rooms at the Flamingo and continue with support services and community outreach.

Services and amenities include drug testing, education, harm reduction supplies, showers and hygiene, laundry, counselling, AA meetings, and three meals per day.

Operators tell council they’ve already assisted multiple people with getting housing, helped stranded hitchhikers get a ride out of town, and they actively help clients get to their appointments.

Drug use is reportedly prohibited inside the building or on shelter property and offenders are banished.

The shelter also aims to improve security in the general vicinity with 12 to 16 cameras.

Operations are set to run through June this year because of the pandemic, but would usually run November through March.

Find the full presentation online.