A controversial new affordable housing facility in Calgary will be going ahead, despite the opposition of nearby communities.
On Thursday, the Calgary Subdivision and Development Appeal Board approved the project, dubbed Centre 4800, to convert the old hotel — albeit with several new conditions.
In the television show "Fargo," the former Quality Inn serves as headquarters for a sleazy crime syndicate. But in real life, the hotel has sat empty for years. The Calgary Drop-In Centre has regularly faced opposition from community associations against having supportive or low-income housing in their backyard.
In 2012, The Drop-In Centre purchased the old hotel at a foreclosure sale. It operates a homeless shelter in downtown Calgary, and many opponents are concerned an affordable housing development will bring similar clientele to the area.
"This is not a place for the homeless," community resident Roy Shelley told CBC News after a meeting about the development in 2012.
The proposal was rejected in October 2015 by the Calgary Planning Commission. The Drop-In Centre successfully filed an appeal.
The board has mandated the building will never be used as a shelter, and that staff be always present, CBC News reported.
According to the project proposal, 46 of the 79 units, will be reserved for people in need of long-term supportive housing, including families, seniors and people with disabilities.
The other units will be rented to the general public. The community will run a volunteer program to encourage residents to participate in cleaning the community — or shovel snow for neighbours.
Drop-In Centre employees say the decision is long overdue.
“We have people that we could have put in there three years ago,” Debbie Newman, executive director at the centre, told the Calgary Herald.
But if nearby residents have their way, the project might have one more hurdle to jump.
"The only option we have now is to take it to the court of Queen's Bench – it's an option we might explore," Thorncliffe Greenview Community Association vice-president Marvin Quashnick said in an interview with Metro News.
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