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

File photo
A man walks into a Cargill meat processing factory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Alberta meat plant, site of COVID-19 outbreak last year, to get vaccination clinics

Nearly half of the 2,200 workers at the Cargill facility contracted the novel coronavirus and two employees died last April

Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, left, Grand Chief Arthur Noskey, centre and Chief Aaron Young during a meeting with First Nations Chiefs and Grand Chiefs in Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta must retract Forest Act before it becomes law: Treaty 8 grand chief

‘We are asking (the government) to pull this back and consult with us,’ says Arthur Noskey of Treaty 8 First Nations

Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the United Conservative government’s draft elementary school curriculum pilot this fall. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
Calgary school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

Other school boards including Edmonton Public, Edmonton Catholic, Elk Island Public, Wild Rose, Medicine Hat Public, Medicine Hat Catholic and Lethbridge Public have also rejected it

Alberta reported its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases since December 16 on Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Alberta reports 1,521 additional COVID-19 cases, 674 new variant cases

Daily case total the highest since mid-December

A cross made out of hockey sticks at a makeshift memorial is silhouetted against the setting sun at the intersection of a fatal bus crash near Tisdale, Sask., on Monday, April, 9, 2018. A virtual tribute is planned to mark the third anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
VIDEO: Humboldt Broncos team to be honoured on third anniversary of fatal bus crash

16 people died and 13 were injured when a semi-trailer ran a stop sign into the path of the hockey team’s bus

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Stettler’s own Renegade Station is kicking off the spring season with a brand new single - to be released April 9th. (Photo submitted)
A brand new single is on the way from Stettler-based band Renegade Station

Free Free Free hits all streaming platforms on April 9th

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau waits for a virtual meeting to begin with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ottawa, Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ottawa mulls exempting more workers from Canada-U.S. border shutdown: Garneau

Canada-U.S. border has been closed to people travelling for vacations and other non-essential visits since March 2020

A worker smooths concrete at a construction site in Toronto on January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls: Statistics Canada

Figure released this morning outpaced the 259,000 gain seen in February

FILE - This file photo dated July 10, 1947 shows the official photograph of Britain’s Princess Elizabeth and her fiance, Lieut. Philip Mountbatten in London. Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died aged 99. (AP Photo/File)
Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies at 99

Philip spent a month in hospital earlier this year before being released on March 16

Campbell River city council will continue its 2020 policy of waiving late fees and NSFs. (Mirror File photo)
53% of Canadians teetering the brink of insolvency: survey

A majority of Canadians admit they’re just $200 away from not being able to pay their monthly bills

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney listens as the 2021 budget is delivered in Edmonton Alta, on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Kenney faces criticism from doctors, his own caucus, over new COVID-19 health rules

Alberta now has more than 10,000 active cases, about 43 per cent are variants

Most Read