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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Dozens of unhoused individuals who use a shelter in Charlottetown are in an much more precarious state of affairs because the provincial authorities nears a collection of deadlines this weekend.
Metropolis council voted on Sept. 25 to permit the province’s Park Road shelter to run for one more yr with out going by means of the right zoning course of if it may meet six situations by Oct. 13, together with putting in a long-awaited hearth sprinkler system.
Whereas the province has posted a public tender for a system, it solely went stay on Sept. 26. The cut-off date is Oct. 11 and the completion date for the undertaking is Dec. 31. There isn’t a indication of a begin for the work.
This implies the province can’t meet all six necessities by Oct. 13, however it’s unclear whether or not the town will shut the shelter, and when.
Coun. Justin Muttart requested for an replace on the Oct. 10 council assembly.
“I wish to perceive what the expectation is for the top of day Friday, very first thing Monday morning,” he mentioned. “That could be a shelter that’s operational now, and it was indicated right here a minute in the past there’s a doubtless likelihood it may very well be requested to stop operations till the applying is permitted.”
Whereas supervisor of growth David Gundrum mentioned the power may very well be closed if the situations set out by council aren’t met, Deputy Mayor Alanna Jankov mentioned in an interview after the assembly that “the town isn’t a monster” and human nature comes into the query sooner or later.
Town is not going to merely flip off the lights on Oct. 14. There’s a course of, Jankov mentioned.
“I feel it could be very disappointing if the applicant doesn’t have their operations so as. They’ve had a complete yr, and now they’ve been given one other yr.”
Since council has already voted, imposing the situations is within the fingers of employees, and Jankov wasn’t positive about how every division concerned with the necessities will deal with it.
She steered there are instances within the metropolis’s historical past the place an applicant was given extra time to meet a growth settlement.
Requested about what would occur if the province started work on the sprinkler system on Oct. 13, Jankov mentioned it’s attainable the province has one thing labored out with the hearth division. However these selections are operational and unknown to her at this level, she mentioned.
The one requirement she has heard any progress on was public works, whose employees met with the province that day about putting in a fence and transferring the entry to the power, which Coun. Julie McCabe talked about throughout the assembly.
Over the previous few months, Park Road has seen near 90 per cent use. Within the winter months it was nicely over 90 per cent.
The shelter opened in December 2022 after it turned clear dozens of Islanders had been dwelling in tents across the metropolis.
Due to the disaster, the hearth marshall allowed the province a short lived break from assembly the right hearth code, however the metropolis’s new non permanent allow is extra inflexible.
In Might and June of 2023, Liberal MLA Gord McNeilly requested Housing Minister Rob Lantz within the P.E.I. legislature about considerations across the shelter assembly hearth codes.
On June 14, Lantz mentioned that, from his personal expertise as a metropolis councillor and planning board member, the hearth marshall can “approve different measures” primarily based on their skilled experience.
“If we transition to a everlasting mannequin, I feel that we are able to then put money into extra everlasting security options in these trailers. I feel with the uncertainty we had final yr about whether or not it could be everlasting, these non permanent measures and the investments to face that factor up as rapidly as we did had been satisfactory based on the hearth marshal.”
In response to an additional McNeilly query, Lantz mentioned the province was not putting in sprinklers at the moment.
“There are different ranges in authorities right here, different decision-makers. I don’t wish to prejudice our public session course of.”
SaltWire contacted the Division of Housing, Land and Communities on Sept. 26 to ask about their plans, and a spokesperson mentioned they’d search a consultant however gave no additional response.
Logan MacLean is a municipal reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He will be reached by e-mail at [email protected] and adopted on X @loganmaclean94.