Additional security expected at Edmonton Convention Centre's temporary shelter

·2 min read

The organizers of Edmonton's temporary downtown shelter say they will deploy additional security resources inside and outside the venue.

The four agencies that run the Edmonton Convention Centre's winter shelter said in a statement Thursday they are focused on improving security.

"We continue to evaluate and modify our security protocols based on the unique needs of our guests and the need to continue to provide a strong and proactive security presence," Elliott Tanti, a spokesperson for Boyle Street Community Services, said in an email.

"We are collaborating with all operational partners to deploy additional security resources in the coming days, including a more robust security presence in both outdoor and indoor spaces and issuing a new code of conduct which guests must verbally acknowledge upon entry."

Clients of the shelter spoke about safety concerns in interviews with CBC News earlier this week.

A 45-year-old man was attacked outside the centre at around 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, police said in a release.

A 23-year-old man was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public in relation to that attack.

The victim is in stable condition.

Tanti confirmed that medical and security teams responded to a "critical incident" outside the facility on Tuesday night. None of the staff involved in the response were injured.

The shelter opened in early November to give people staying in encampments an indoor space that follows COVID-19 protocols.

Organizers are currently dealing with an outbreak. The original capacity of 300 overnight residents has been lowered to 150 to deal with the outbreak.

Edmonton Police said they responded to 60 incidents at the centre between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30.

Those included six assault causing bodily harm or assault with a weapon charges, five assaults, and two sexual assaults.