Wetaskiwin residents show support for 24/7 Integrated Response Hub

Wetaskiwin residents and City Council members showed support for Hub with positive signs.

Facebook/ The Open Door 24/7 Integrated Response Hub- Wetaskiwin.

Facebook/ The Open Door 24/7 Integrated Response Hub- Wetaskiwin.

Last week employees and users of The Open Door’s 24/7 Integrated Response Hub located in the Wetaskiwin Civic Building were surprised by a show of support by the community. Community members showed up with signs of positivity and kind words to offer support following adversity that has surrounded the Hub for months.

Since its creation in the City the 24/7 Integrated Response Hub has been faced with multiple obstacles including backlash from local business owners and Wetaskiwin residents who are unhappy with a shelter in their vicinity.

Due to this the City of Wetaskiwin was unable to secure the location chosen by The Open Door to be the permanent home for the 24/7 Integrated Response Hub. This fall Wetaskiwin City Council declared a state of local emergency to provide immediate assistance to vulnerable persons in the area and declared that this winter the Hub would be located in the Wetaskiwin Civic Building.

“If we can have an agency in Wetaskiwin that gives people a warm place to sleep, some food and even just a little bit of hope, it’s something I have to support. It can also start the healing for those who have been struggling for most, if not all of their life,” said Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam on the Facebook page Mayor Tyler Gandam in a Jan. 9, 2021 post.

“We are going to have issues. The trouble is, we’re going to have issues whether there’s a Hub or not. It’s not going to run smoothly, I don’t want it at the Civic Building any longer than it has to be. Just know I hear your concerns and we are working on getting it moved as soon as we can.”

His post comes in response to one on the page by Jessica Hutton, Executive Director of The Open Door Association. In her post on Hutton explains that the Civic building was never one of The Open Door’s choices for the 24/7 Integrated Response Hub location and that many factors played into the use of the Civic Building this year. One of the reasons was zoning issues and land use bylaws that could work for programming like the Hub’s.

Hutton went on to say she knows that the location is not ideal but The Open Door is tackling a decades long issue and things take time. She asked for the kindness and understanding of the community as they work to find the proper home for the Hub.

In a plea for compassion she said, “we greatly appreciate the City’s dedication in working on a solution, and part of that has been to temporarily use the Civic building. Again, not ideal, but keeping people safe, and beginning the long journey of change that will come.

Please know that tonight, my team is dealing with someone who just had a miscarriage. Someone whose mother just died. Multiple people who have just lost a common family member/ friend. Someone who is dying of cancer and uses drugs to cope with the fear. Someone who just had a limb amputated. Someone who was sexually assaulted as a child and drinks to dull the memories. Someone who has a disability that the system should have caught and helped years ago. They are drinking to cope. And this is just some of what we’re doing. Tonight. Now.”

Compassionate community members heard Hutton and Gandam’s messages and decided to show their support for the 24/7 Integrated Response Hub last week by making positive signs to post in front of the Hub and sharing messages of support with those there that day.

“The whole goal was a show of support,” said Wetaskiwin resident Maleah Friesen, on why she and others decided to do this for the Hub. “We really wanted to drown out the negativity they’ve been receiving with positivity.”

Friesen said that employees and users of the Hub were so happy to see the show of positivity and how they were being welcomed in the community. She says that the Hub is something that this community was in need of, “this is what reconciliation in action looks like.”

In her January 7 post Hutton lists some options of what Wetaskiwin residents can do if they are frustrated with the way things are right now with the Hub. She said:

“1. Find us a better location, within the City of Wetaskiwin (necessary for funding sources), zoned correctly, that can accommodate 100 plus people, with about 40 overnight, every night. Bear in mind funding is an issue.

2. Work with The Open Door to provide cohesive and targeted community support for Provincial and Federal funding as The Open Door and the City of Wetaskiwin work relentlessly to get the necessary programming/ resources in place.

3. Further dialogue within the community about what it is to be human, and face fears and concerns with those who may appear different or scary. Learn names. Learn stories. Mutual respect, compassion and kindness are necessary cornerstones. Hunger, loneliness, pain, mental illness and multiple other factors can drive someone’s behaviour. See the real person underneath.

4. Take time to understand mental health, addictions, grief, trauma, complex medical needs, etc., and how they all factor into a humans existence. Connection is the opposite of addiction. Hurt people hurt people. Knowledge is power.”



shaela.dansereau@pipestoneflyer.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Facebook/ Mayor Tyler Gandam

Facebook/ Mayor Tyler Gandam

Just Posted

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Annual spending on debt interest is closing in on $3 billion

Alberta reported an additional 399 cases of COVID-19 Thursday, on 9,217 tests, for a test positivity rate of 4.3 per cent. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer down to 562 active COVID-19 cases

8 new COVID-19 deaths, 399 additional COVID-19 cases

(File photo/Lauren Collins Vana)
Ponoka cat owners have until July 1, 2021 to purchase licenses

Town council passed new Animal Control Bylaw Feb. 23

City of Red Deer has nearly doubled its active COVID-19 case count since Feb. 10 and has 75.6 per cent of the Central zone’s active cases. (File photo)
Another new high: Red Deer hits 574 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports 13 new COVID-19 deaths, 430 new cases

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

By 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, 4,500 seniors had booked their appointments

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta’s COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

The court says it will reconvene with lawyers on March 5 for a case management plan by teleconference

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

Sylvan Lake's Winter Village lured many visitors to the town this winter. The town has launched a new contest to attract a new business.
(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

Alberta premier Jason Kenney, right and Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, provide details about Bill 13, the Alberta Senate Election Act., in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday June 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Minister Doug Schweitzer talks on Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit

Provincial government rolling out new benefit this April to better help small businesses.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Mike Ammeter (Photo by Rebecca Hadfield)
Sylvan Lake man elected chair of Canadian Canola Growers Association

Mike Ammeter is a local farmer located near the Town of Sylvan Lake

Most Read