Fairhaven residents elevate security issues about new Emergency Wellness Middle – Saskatoon

The plan to set up an emergency wellness center in the Fairhaven neighborhood of Saskatoon is not sitting well with area residents.

friday, october 28, the Saskatoon Tribal Council announced that they are partnering with the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC) to bring a new and expanded Emergency Wellness Center (EMC) to Saskatoon in November.

The new location will be at 415 Fairmont Dr. in the Fairhaven neighborhood and will be able to house 106 people. The 75 beds at the current EMC and 31 new beds will be moved to the location following the closure of the Lighthouse shelter beds.

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Fairhaven residents have taken to Facebook to express their concern, saying that if the Wellness Center is brought to Fairhaven, crime will follow.

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“So close to two elementary schools, now we gotta worry about needles in the park and even worse stuff,” one Facebook user said.

“As if this area wasn’t bad enough with different types of crime. This will just fuel the existing problems here,” said another.

In a previous statement, Tribal Chief Mark Arcand said homelessness affects everyone. “It’s a community problem, it’s not a downtown problem, it’s not a north, east, south, west problem.”

“There’s people with addictions there, it’s real. But there’s also people that don’t have homes. cost of food is going up; cost of rent is going up.”

“We had an infant there as young as three months old, this is serious stuff in our city,” Arcand said. “People have to start recognizing that this is a community issue.”

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Saskatoon youth tackling homelessness

“I welcome the opportunity to save lives,” said David Kirton, Saskatoon City Councilor for Ward 3.

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“What we see on First Avenue is a wellness center that shouldn’t be a wellness center … It is far from a perfect situation and so we have people who are bleeding-out onto the sidewalk on First Avenue and are sitting around there and that’s what people have seen. That’s what they think they are going to see on Fairmont in Fairhaven.”

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“I just don’t think that is going to be the case.”

Kirton said that the new location will be far different from the First Avenue location.

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“It’s a four and a half acre property; it’s fenced. I heard today from STC Chief Mark Arcand that peacekeepers are going to be manning all the gates, who’s going in and who’s going out.”

Kirton stressed that as a community, Saskatoon needs to work together on this to protect the vulnerable.

“Once we get all of the information out there to the residents, I hope there will be a different attitude in the neighborhood.”

Click to play video: 'STC takes on beds from Lighthouse'

STC takes on beds from Lighthouse

Superintendent Cameron McBride, in charge of patrol and patrol support division, said the current center is housing around 70 individuals. He said that groups of people have also taken to gathering on the sidewalk outside of the wellness center.

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“Some of those individuals are associated to the wellness center specifically and accessing services there, and some are not.”

McBride said that the Saskatoon Police Service has an open line of communication with the Saskatoon Tribal Council and plans to address any changes that may occur in the area.

We work closely with their team of staff there, and we will be putting together a response to the change in the neighborhood that could be expected. And at this point, the footprint of the facility is significantly different than what we’ve seen downtown. And so, we really don’t know for sure what effects there may be to the neighborhood. But we will be responsive.”

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McBride added that these types of services are essential to the Saskatoon community.

“The Saskatoon Tribal Council Wellness Center is providing supports and services to some of Saskatoon’s most vulnerable individuals and there’s definitely a need for that type of work. We at the Saskatoon Police Service hope that this is a very good thing for the individuals who will be seeking shelter and supports there.”

The Saskatoon Tribal Council will provide services in Fairhaven to address cultural, mental health, addictions and housing needs at a cost of $536,000 through April 30, 2023.

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The doors at the old First Avenue location will remain open during the cold weather although there will be no beds available.

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Additional pressure on Saskatoon Tribal Council’s emergency shelter

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