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The City of Saskatoon-led Safety/Maintenance Committee and the Saskatoon Tribal Council are in talks to create a dedicated outdoor space at the STC Wellness Center.

The space “would improve upon both the well-being of the relatives and the public realm around the exterior of the Wellness Center as a means to lessen the impact of loitering and nuisance activities,” Saskatoon Fire Department Chief Morgan Hackl and director of community standards Matt Grazier in a report to Monday’s City Council meeting.

“The current temporary location and operation of the Wellness Center was an answer to a critical demand in the community with the needs of the Wellness Center and evolving residents. Adding a temporary public outdoor space would enable the STC the ability to evaluate and develop how it could use outdoor space in a more permanent location, while also providing immediate benefits to users of the facility,” the report says.

The report outlines three potential sites for the space: the Midtown Plaza parking lot west of the wellness center; an undetermined off-site location; and on the parking spaces in front of the center on the First Avenue.

The First Avenue option is under review and requires further conversations with STC, the report says.

The safety committee has discussed the idea with the City of Vancouver where such spaces have been established, the report says.

Operators are responsible for managing, operating and cleaning the space and ensuring a positive experience for the users of the space, pedestrians, and traffic passing by.

The report notes that the construction of a temporary patio would result in the loss of parking spaces and challenges with enforcement may continue to exist.

The city and the STC would need to ensure adequate oversight and security, including control over who may use the space and during what hours.

“In general, there must be a balance between the needs and risks to the downtown with the needs and risks of the Wellness Center and the relatives who reside there,” the report says, using the center’s term for its users.

The report says city administration will proceed as directed should city council decide that the space be developed.

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