Shelter House aims to make a deal on city building

A Thunder Bay community group wants council to consider selling a city-owned vacant building at a reduced cost.

Thunder Bay homeless shelter needs city-owned building to expand alcohol treatment services

A discount on this city-owned building would help a Thunder Bay Shelter to purchase and immediately renovate the building to expand its Alcohol Management program. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

A Thunder Bay community group wants council to consider selling a city-owned vacant building at a reduced cost.

Shelter House executive director Patty Hajdu said the homeless shelter, which will make its request at Monday night's council meeting, wants to buy a vacant city-owned building to expand its services — but doesn't want to pay the asking price.

Shelter House executive director Patty Hajdu. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

"We probably could afford to purchase it at $249,000," she said of the building’s current listing price.

"But then what would happen is that it would eat up a lot of the reserve that we're holding onto to actually renovate the building, and we're hoping to renovate it fairly quickly."

Hajdu said getting a discount on the building from the city would show council values the work Shelter House does in helping the homeless and preventing crime.

"What we're hoping is the city recognizes that Shelter House continues to be a big part of the solution to homelessness and substance use and crime prevention, and that the price would reflect their acknowledgement of that," she said.

The property is at 401 E. Donald St., known as the old Superior North EMS headquarters. The building would be used for Shelter House’s Alcohol Management program, which would then be able to expand its assistance to 20 people from 15.

Shelter House’s Alcohol Management building would then be turned into a shelter for young people.

More spending decisions

City councillors will have plenty of other spending decisions to make at its Monday night meeting, including some big-ticket items.

The city has budgeted to spend $1.3 M from city coffers (the rest will be made up by insurance and provincial funding) to help mitigate the $44 million in flood-related expenses. Three quarters of which will go to rebuild the sewage treatment plant.

The city has also budgeted to spend $1 million in renovations at the Whalen building.

But council will also have to make decisions on unexpected items — including $1 million for emergency medical services, as well as legal services. Close to $1.5 million is being asked for the roads department, as late snowfalls plowed through its budget.