The city is considering spending $36,000 to create a statue that would memorialize those who have lost their lives to homelessness. The idea has already caused quite a stir with some critics saying the money could be put to better use.

Those behind the project say they would prefer the sculpture to be built downtown, but a specific location hasn't been chosen yet.

Charles Antosko has been living on and off the street for seven years. He says that money could be better spent on programs to help the homeless, such as drug intervention and housing.

"It's nice to have a memorial but I mean, why build a statue when you can build buildings?"

But the group behind the recommendation says the point of the sculpture is to raise awareness about an issue that has grown in our city.

"I think we've seen all sorts of examples where an effective work of art can really help us as people as citizens to understand a fairly complex social problem," said John Mahon with the Edmonton Arts Council.

Mahon says the city needs more art, especially pieces that challenge social problems.

Some city councillors are quick to defend the idea saying the cash has already been set aside for city artwork.

Local artist Kris Friesen agrees with the group. He believes the statue will get people talking, but in a positive direction.

"If you want to get people thinking about homelessness, I don't really see a better way."

The sculpture is one of four public art projects recommended by the Edmonton Arts Council at a cost of $100,000.

Other artwork recommended to the city includes a sculpture at Donnan Park, murals in Riverdale and eight pieces to be situated at the University of Alberta Hospital.

A council committee will vote on whether to move forward with the projects next week.

With files from Scott Roberts