Boyle Street Community Services’ plan to relocate to 101 Street and 107A Avenue is facing a roadblock after the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board revoked its development permit due to zoning issues.
According to a Nov. 25 CBC article, “‘The board is of the opinion that the proposed development does not conform with the use prescribed for the site,’ the decision says.”
This decision came after a Nov. 10 hearing with individuals objecting to the new building location.
The relocation of Boyle Street Community Services has been a controversial topic.
Close to a year after Boyle Street Community Services’ new building was announced, a number of groups filed appeals against the facility’s development permit, including a group of concerned parents who have also launched a petition to prevent the project from moving forward.
The Victoria School Parent Coalition submitted their appeal of the Boyle Street Community Services (BSCS) development permit to the City of Edmonton’s Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) on Oct. 11, according to their petition.org page, which is seeking support for their opposition to the project. At least 13 other organizations, groups, or individuals have also filed appeals against the project, to be heard at an SDAB hearing scheduled for Nov. 10.
The organization’s new building is located a block away from Victoria School of the Arts, and the proximity of the location to Edmonton’s largest K-12 school has been criticized by residents of the McCauley neighbourhood, as well as parents of the school’s students due to the potential for negative interactions between people accessing BSCS’s services and programming and students and residents.
On Oct. 26, Victoria School hosted a meeting between BSCS and parents in order to provide more information on the project. Jordan Reiniger, BSCS’s executive director, gave a presentation on the new building, and explained to attendees that BSCS will not be expanding their current programming and services. However, the organization has been in need of a new building for many years. Reiniger said the number of people experiencing homelessness in Edmonton doubled, if not tripled over the COVID-19 pandemic, and that there are close to 2,000 youth experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness in the city.
Reiniger explained that after consulting with people who use their services, it made sense to find a building in close proximity to their current location so that people would be able to continue accessing supports in an area they are already comfortable with.
Although the building will not operate as a shelter or mat facility (a temporary homeless shelter), Reiniger said the new facility is being designed to bring people inside, to avoid congestion on the sidewalks as well as discouraging people from setting up tents.
While the building is not set to open for another year, Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) representatives recognize that parents and families of Victoria School students have concerns and questions about the development, and that the engagement and information process is ongoing.
“The Oct. 26 meeting was the start of the engagement process with parents and families about the new Boyle Street Community Centre project,” said Veronica Jubinville, an EPSB spokesperson.
“We want to thank parents for taking time to attend the meeting to ask questions and learn more. We know families do have more questions and concerns that they want addressed, so more meetings with the school community will take place,” she added.
The 2.5 acre property, located at 10010 107A Ave, will cost $28.5 million after the renovations on the existing 75,000 square foot building are completed. Boyle Street sold their current building to the Oilers Entertainment Group in late 2021, and the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation donated $10 million towards the new building.