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City responded to 83 rough sleeping camps around Red Deer this summer… Here’s what to do if you see one.

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  • From the City of Red Deer

    Rough sleeping encampment update

    With an increasing number of rough sleeper camps being reported over the last month, the City of Red Deer is focusing heavily on cleanup efforts across the city.  However, citizens are encouraged to continue reporting rough sleeper camps to the City of Red Deer.

    Over the summer, a collaborative cleanup and outreach team worked to respond to 83 camps, which resulted in connecting with 153 individuals about housing and 70 referrals to non-housing related social services.  This collaborative approach was part of a pilot project for an enhanced collaborative response.  The pilot ran from June to August 2018.

    “Community safety for all citizens is what matters most when it comes to ensuring our parks, trails and community spaces are safe, clean and accessible for all,” said City Manager Craig Curtis. “It is the result of joint efforts on the part of citizens, community partners and local agencies alike that we were able to connect with and have 153 individual conversations as part of the collaborative camp clean-up process.”

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    All camps need to be reported to the non-emergency RCMP/Bylaw complaint line at 403-343-5575.  When reporting a rough sleeper camp, you may be asked for personal information such as your name and phone number so Community Peace Officers (CPOs) can follow up on your complaint and ensure they know where the camp is located.

    When a camp is reported, CPOs go to the reported site and, when their investigation is complete, they issue a 24 hour eviction notice.  The CPOs then work with City of Red Deer staff to clean up the area within 14 days, whenever possible.

    The process to respond to rough sleeper camps is as follows:

    1. Citizens contact the RCMP/ Bylaw complaint line to report the camp.
    2. A Municipal Enforcement Officer is dispatched to the reported camp site, which is often vacant.
    3. Once this work is complete, the issuing officer posts a 24-hour eviction notice, which contains social support services contact information.
    4. Municipal Enforcement then communicates with City of Red Deer staff, who are scheduled to complete weekly camp cleanups.

    This approach and process is aimed at preventing the displacement and reoccupation of rough sleepers within the park system by attempting to house people.

    “We will continue to balance the needs of all citizens as City staff and community partners respond to calls for rough sleeper camp clean-up including, but not limited to, needle debris and the need for housing and treatmentsupports,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “We strongly encourage citizens to report through the formal complaint line toensure a timely response.”

    The collaborative approach to address rough sleeper camps in Red Deer’s parks and other green spaces resultedin the removal of 16 tonnes of debris and 1,005 needles between June 1 and August 30, 2018.  City staff spent approximately 1,343 hours cleaning up camps, with Turning Point and the Safe Harbour society providing outreach support to individuals living at 35 of the 83 camps cleaned up over the summer months.

    For more information about rough sleeper camps, visit www.reddeer.ca.

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    Alberta

    Update 4: Northwest Alberta wildfire (May 24 at 5:00 p.m.)

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  • May 24, 2019

    From Government of Alberta:

    Nearly 400 firefighters, 28 helicopters and eight air tankers continue to battle northwest Alberta wildfires. Evacuees can sign up for financial support Sunday.

    Current situation

    • The Chuckegg Creek Wildfire is burning approximately three kilometres southwest of the Town of High Level in Mackenzie County.
    • This out-of-control wildfire has grown to almost 100,000 hectares.
    • Resources on the ground include about 261 wildland firefighters, 154 structural fighters and staff on the ground, supported by 28 helicopters, eight air tankers and 46 pieces of heavy equipment.
    • Continuing dry and windy conditions in most of Alberta have increased the danger of forest fires.
    • Evacuation centres have registered approximately 3,700 people as of May 24 at 2 p.m.
    • A voluntary evacuation is in place for Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement and areas north of High Level.
    • The province will provide one-time financial support to evacuees displaced by northwest wildfires.
    • You may qualify for the evacuation payment if you were:
      • living, working or vacationing in the affected area
      • forced to leave due to an evacuation order
      • paid for most of your costs to evacuate
    • Albertans who qualify will receive $1,250 for each adult and $500 for each dependent child.
    • Applications will open:
      • Online – starting Sunday, May 26 (Interac e-transfers may take 24 hours to go through)
      • In person at evacuation reception centres – starting Monday, May 27
      • If you require assistance registering, call 310-4455
    • Alberta Health Services evacuated 19 patients from the Manning Community Health Centre due to smoke from the wildfires.
    • Detailed information is available on emergency.alberta.ca, which is updated frequently.
    • Alberta Emergency Alerts has cancelled the High Level and Bushe River Reserve emergency alerts and have consolidated them into a larger Mackenzie County alert.

    Reception centres

    • Reception centres are open at:
      • Slave Lake Legacy Centre (400 6 Avenue)
      • High Prairie Gordon Buchanan Centre (5409 49 Street)
      • Grande Prairie Regional College (10726 106 Avenue)
      • Peace River Misery Mountain Ski Hill (10408 89 Street)
      • La Crete Heritage Centre (25411 Township Road 1060, south of La Crete)
      • Fort Vermilion Community Cultural Complex (5001 44 Avenue)
      • Hay River Dene Wellness Centre (In K’atl’ Odeeche First Nation, 17 kilometres east of Hay River)

    Highway closures

    • Highway 35 remains closed between five kilometres and 30 kilometres south of High Level. Highway 697 and the La Crete Ferry is identified as a detour. La Crete Ferry is operational with wait times of approximately one hour.
    • Highway 58 from High Level to approximately 70 kilometres from the junction with Range Road 45A remains closed.

    Insurance information

    • Evacuated residents should retain all their receipts for food purchases, accommodation and other related expenses to provide to their insurer for possible reimbursement.
    • Most home and tenant’s insurance policies provide reasonable coverage for living expenses during an evacuation. Contact your insurance company for details.
    • Albertans who cannot remember or reach their insurance provider, can contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-844-227-5422 or by email at askibcwest@ibc.ca. Information to understand your fire insurance coverage is online at www.ibc.ca/ab/disaster/alberta-wildfire.

    Air quality

    Health

    • Mental health support is available by calling Alberta’s 24-hour Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.

    Pets and livestock

    • Animal Control are collecting household pets that have been left behind. Pets will be moved to a safe and secure location outside of the Town of High Level. If you have left your household pet behind, please contact 780-926-2201.
    • Mackenzie County has stock trailers to assist with livestock. transport. Visit www.highlevel.ca for more information.

    Donations and volunteers

    Canada Post

    • Canada Post has suspended mail delivery services in the communities of High Level, Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement, Meander River, Chateh and Keg River.
    • Mail will be held at the Edmonton depot until mail service resumes.
    • Check the Canada Post website for updates.

    Income Support, Alberta Supports and AISH

    • Residents receiving benefits from the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) or the Income Support program by cheque rather than electronic deposit, and who are affected by the wildfire in High Level, can visit their nearest Alberta Supports Centres Alberta Supports [www.alberta.ca/alberta-supports.aspx] to pick up their cheque.
    • If you are in La Crete, you can pick up your cheque at the local reception centre. If you receive your benefits via direct deposit, your payment will be deposited as usual.
    • For information on child intervention and child care, residents may contact 1-800-638-0715
    • If persons with developmental disabilities, their families or contracted service providers need human, financial, or in-kind assistance to connect with loved ones, find accommodations or provide assistance to individuals receiving PDD supports, please contact the nearest Alberta Supports Centre for assistance. You can find a list of Alberta Supports Centres online Alberta Supports www.alberta.ca/alberta-supports.aspx or you can call the Alberta Supports contact Centre at 1-800-232-7215 provincewide between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Friday. 
    • For additional information on social benefits, affected individuals can contact Alberta Supports at www.alberta.ca/alberta-supports.aspx or call 1-877-644-9992, Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Health card, driver’s licences, ID cards, birth certificate

    • To get a replacement Health Care Insurance Card at no cost, you can contact 780-427-1432 or toll free at 310-0000 and then 780-427-1432 when prompted. Your Alberta Personal Health Card can be mailed to a temporary address.  
    • If driver’s licences, ID cards, and/or birth certificates were left behind during the evacuation, replacement cards and certificates can be ordered free of charge at a registry agent. A list of registry locations can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/registry-agents.aspx

    Other information

    • Residents driving through the area should carry enough fuel as there may be shortages.

    Public information

    • You can call 310-4455 for more information.

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    John Donald is 2019 Red Deer Citizen of the Year!

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  • John Donald is being recognized for a long career of local and regional philanthropy and volunteerism, including his key roles in several multi-million dollar fundraising campaigns which have improved the quality of life for all Central Albertans.

    John has tended to favour health care projects critical to Central Albertans. He was integral in the million dollar fund raising campaign to bring an MRI machine to Red Deer. He was Chair of the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation as it matured into a fundraising machine capable of raising about 3 million dollars a year for much needed equipment at Red Deer Regional Hospital.

    John remains committed to the health care. He has returned as a board member on the foundation and is working with a citizen committee on the future expansion of Red Deer Regional Hospital.

    His list of accomplishments and fund raising success is varied and long. It includes Co-Chairing and founding the Love of Children Golf Classic, helping STARS Air Ambulance campaigns in 2005, and 2011, as well as playing a key role in the SPCA Capital Fundraising Campaign.

    Congratulations to John Donald who has been recognized as 2019 Red Deer Citizen of the Year.

    2019 Red Deer Citizen of the Year – John Donald

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