Edmonton nonprofit faces closure after province terminates no-cost lease


An Edmonton nonprofit says it is threatened with closure after the Alberta government ended a long-standing deal to help it stay in its downtown area.

The Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society (EERSS) has been operating for 34 years in a surplus government building known as Warehouse # 3 at 10255 104th Street.

The province leased the building to the company for $ 1 per year. It also provided maintenance and upkeep free of charge, at a cost of approximately $ 90,000 per year.

Treasurer Shane Harnish said the problems started last spring when the boiler broke. Instead of repairing or replacing the boiler, Alberta Infrastructure informed the group on August 23 that the lease will not be renewed and that the organization must vacate the premises by the end of September.

The organization is now trying to find a new home in the short term without having a lot of money on hand.

“We will try to secure a new space,” Harnish said. “We are really fighting for a new home.”

Since receiving the letter last week, EESS has learned that the Government of Alberta issued an expression of interest request last year to seek private companies to develop four of its properties. surplus, including the former site of the Royal Alberta Museum.

Warehouse # 3 was also on the list.

“More feasible”

This is not the first time that the company has been threatened with losing its home. In 2016, the organization faced an eviction at the end of its lease. The former NDP government said it could stay until the building was sold.

Harnish said they had made a deal to purchase the building through a developer who, in turn, would find space at EESS to operate. But that deal appears to be dead after the NDP was ousted from government two years ago, he said.

Hadyn Place, press secretary to Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda, said a sale deal was never finalized between the province and the company.

He said the lease was entered into at least six years ago on the understanding that the company would have to move if there were any major issues with the building.

“In recent years it has become evident that this building is no longer feasible to maintain,” Place told CBC News in an email.

“The government manages the buildings and facilities in the province cost-effectively to ensure the best use of taxpayer dollars. Keeping Warehouse 3 would require Albertans to pay over $ 90,000 per year for operations and the building would require an additional $ 2 million in maintenance.

EESS staff are currently in the process of closing the thrift store they operate on the site. The group is now trying to raise funds to move to a new location in the central part of the city.

Harnish said the move could be the end of Edmonton’s emergency rescue services

“This is why we are launching a call now to hopefully find more funding or support, because if we cannot, we may have to shut down the organization for good,” he said. he declares.

EESS provides emergency supplies to those affected by fire or disaster, newcomers to Canada, and homeless people.

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