Boyle Street standing firm
Community service officials say they will be able to move into their new
location – even though their permit was revoked in November
By Ethan LaPerle
IN NOVEMBER, Edmonton’s subdivision and development appeal board revoked Boyle Street Community Services’ development permit for the renovation of its anticipated new home. Yet, despite the setback, officials at Boyle Street say they still expect to move in to the new building.
“There’s no change to our plan and it’s not been halted,” manager of communications and engagement Elliott Tanti says. “It’s just been delayed. It’s been a minor setback in our permitting process, but our intention is to move forward as we initially planned.”
Boyle Street expected to begin renovations in December, with plans to open in October 2023. The organization has submitted a new development permit and expects to have a response sometime this month.
“We’re anticipating maybe a six-month delay,” Tanti says. “But what we know for certain is that these services are desperately needed in downtown, and it’s incumbent on our organization that we get this building built, so that people have a safe place to go.”
In hearings before the November decision, 15 appellants aired grievances, pushing the appeal board to revoke Boyle Street’s development permit, which had been granted last September. The complaints ranged from such social issues as an increase in panhandling, to claiming that the area is incorrectly zoned for social services.
Tanti says he understands where the complaints are coming from, but Boyle Street’s attempts to engage with the community have been met with silence.
The owner of 99 Supermarket filed a complaint with the board. He is concerned about the effect the move will have on his business which is next to the new building. (Ethan LaPerle)
“The challenge is that the community hasn’t wanted to work with us. We’ve made multiple attempts to reach out to stakeholders like the business association and the community league,” Tanti says. “It’s them that’s not wanted to engage with us. So, when they’re ready to do that, we are more than willing to have that conversation.”
One of the appellants, who appears to be the owner of 99 Supermarket, which is right beside the proposed new Boyle Street building, argues that the move will harm his business.
We reached out for comment to Chai Tran, the owner of 99 Supermarket. He indicated that he would provide an email response to our questions, but we have not received one at the time of publication. We also reached out the Chinatown Business Improvement Area for comment, but they have not responded at the time of publication.
Despite the concerns from the community, Boyle Street says its new facility poses no threat to existing businesses. The area already suffers from high levels of poverty and homelessness, and the new building is only two blocks from Boyle Street’s current location behind Rogers Place.
“Ultimately this is about providing services to those people,” Tanti says. “And what’s clear from the appellants is that the issues already exist. Our goal is to help them address those concerns.
“Actually, we’re talking about two blocks here, so any impact to the community would be negligible.”