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Supportive residence concept moves forward

Wolf Creek Youth Unlimited (WCYU) is one step closer to bringing a supportive residence to Lacombe.

Wolf Creek Youth Unlimited (WCYU) is one step closer to bringing a supportive residence to Lacombe.

At its regular meeting on July 22, Lacombe City council gave second and third readings to a land use bylaw text change amendment that will allow for supportive residences, an entirely new use, to be built in R1a, R1b, R1c, R2 and R4 residential districts.

“I want to applaud Youth Unlimited for taking this on,” said Councillor Reuben Konnik. “I fully support it.”

Councillor Ian Foster agreed.

“I really do think that this is something that’s needed,” said Foster.

While the bylaw text change does not apply specifically to the supportive residence WCYU is hoping to build in Lacombe, it was that project that began the process of amending the bylaw and it dominated much of the discussion on Monday night.

During the public hearing regarding the text change amendment, those who spoke in opposition of the change stated that they were not opposed to the bylaw or even to the proposed residence by WCYU, but rather to the location being considered.

Some of those in attendance voiced their concerns that placing such a residence in the proposed area would make the nearby playground a “teen hangout” and its attractiveness and usability would therefore diminish.

However, these concerns were seen as small hurdles to most of council and Councillor Outi Kite expressed her disappointment that those who spoke at the public hearing seemed to view an area attracting young people as a negative occurrence.

“From their statements it appears that youth and young adults are bad and my experience has been exactly the opposite,” said Kite.

Councillor Grant Creasey said he understands such concerns, but can’t think of anywhere better to put the residence.

“I’m just not sure where a more appropriate spot in the City would be,” said Creasey. “It’s just one of those cases where they will just have to learn to get along.”

Supportive residence is defined by the amended bylaw as a residence contained within a dwelling unit with permanent staff living on site.

The type of supportive residence WCYU looks to build would be aimed at young people between the ages of 16 and 22 that would provide a mentoring program for residents that would work towards giving them the necessary tools and supports they need to become productive members of the community.

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