Convention centre sees little damage after acting as homeless shelter for 5 months
EDMONTON -- One week after the Edmonton Convention Centre ended its temporary role as a winter homeless shelter, media was given a tour of the facility to see if there was any damage within the building.
A day earlier, security on site denied CTV News Edmonton from reporting on the centre's exterior grounds, citing direction from the entity that manages it, city-owned enterprise Explore Edmonton.
Explore Edmonton's marketing director, Lauren Andrews, said the guards were following safety protocols put in place when construction at the building began. A copy of those protocols were not shared with CTV News Edmonton.
The condition of the site has been questioned by some councillors who say they did not have a chance to see it either during its operation as a shelter or afterwards.
"The idea that something is being withheld here or that there's anything other than wear and tear on the facility, I have real concerns with the premise of that," Mayor Don Iveson said Thursday.
He estimated repairs to the centre – consisting of due renovations, and "cosmetic work" like replacing glass or other fixtures – would cost fewer than six figures and had been budgeted for.
"Out of a $10-million effort to save lives over the winter and try to route people into housing where we could using referral services and make sure people's basic medical needs were attended to… that was always assumed and planed for."
Arlindo Gomes, vice president venue management for the convention centre, told CTV News that the facility does not look much different.
While there is evidence of vandalism in some bathroom stalls, some carpets needing stains cleaned, and a few drains that need replacing, Gomes said if visitors were allowed in the facility many would not know it was used for housing for an extended period.
“All we’ve done is some surface cleaning… and then our maintenance people will come through and do checks and see if there’s any minor repairs to do,” Gomes added.
“We are happy to show you what the building looks like and are looking forward to a time when we can get back to hosting events.”
The mayor of Edmonton has estimated the repair cost could be less than six figures.
Last month, Iveson criticized the police commission for inviting councillors for "unannounced walk through(s)" of Tipinawâw Shelter, which the police union's president called political pandering.