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Update expected next week on Trail shelter location

Trail city council will hear from BC Housing next week on how it is making out on finding a new location for the city’s homeless shelter.

In September, the outgoing council voted to extend the operating permit for the existing shelter for another year with the promise that the provincial organization would move it to another temporary location outside of downtown while it works on a long-term supportive housing project.

City manager Colin McClure told council last week that while a location has been identified, BC Housing is still working through legalities and with building inspection before it is announced. It may or may not be ready to do so in a presentation to council on Monday.

“I’m not 100 per cent sure but as soon as we’re able to, we certainly will be discussing it,” he said. “We’re not trying to hide anything, but if it’s not going to work on this site, I’d hate to say ‘It’s here’ and then come back to you or disappoint the public by saying ‘It’s not going to work there.’ I’d prefer to say ‘We’re committed to this location.'”

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If the location has not been nailed down by Monday, he hopes it will be when council meets in December, McClure said.

Council’s previous approval to continue operating the current shelter also hinged on providing 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily security and doing fire upgrades. Originally BC Housing was supposed to report back on those things by Oct. 31, but staff said choosing that date was an oversight, because no corresponding council meeting had been set up.

According to McClure’s report, the shelter has hired two new staff who are nearing the end of their training, and is interviewing for two more positions. The additional security was expected to be in place last week. The regional fire chief has signed off on a new safety plan but some electrical upgrades need to be completed before it is fully approved.

The present shelter La Nina shelter operates with 18 beds, but council has heard from businesses and residents that its location poses a number of problems.

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