Boyle Street Community Services, which helps people experiencing homelessness in Edmonton, announced Tuesday it will be moving out of its community centre near Rogers Place when its lease ends on Sept. 30.
The social services organization is ultimately planning to move a few blocks north, but its King Thunderbird Centre project has met community opposition and the newly renovated building isn't expected to open until next year.
It's not clear why Boyle Street has chosen to not maintain its lease and stay at its current location in the meantime.
Boyle Street sold its building, a former banana-ripening warehouse on 105th Avenue, to Katz Group Real Estate for $5 million in 2021 and agreed to a two-year lease.
Tanti said Boyle Street's lease was for $1 per month.
In a prepared statement, Tim Shipton, executive vice president of OEG Sports and Entertainment, said the company offered Boyle Street a lease extension "at the same nominal rate as agreed upon in 2021."
When asked why the lease was no longer financially viable, Tanti said he was not able to comment on that.
Spokesperson Elliott Tanti says Boyle Street intends to keep offering services after Sept. 30. (Travis McEwan/CBC)
Kevin Rapanos, OEG Sports and Entertainment's director of corporate communications, said in an email that the company could not comment on the financial viability of Boyle Street's operations.
Rapanos said there are no immediate plans for the Boyle Street site.
Tanti said OEG is responsible for $15 million in funding for the King Thunderbird Centre — far more than any other partner or government body.
The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation donated $10 million for the facility in 2021.
Boyle Street has raised more than 80 per cent of its $28.5 million goal for the project.
Services to continue
Tanti said the moving situation is "not ideal" and "will cause a lot of upset and turmoil," but Boyle Street intends to keep offering services beyond Sept. 30.
He said the organization has been working with the City of Edmonton to secure a new location. Running services out of existing facilities throughout the city is a last resort.
Speaking to reporters at city hall on Tuesday, Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said the City of Edmonton is trying to help Boyle Street by identifying locations and examining the possibility of expediting the permitting process.
"At the end of the day, there's a real impact on people and these people are the most vulnerable in our society," he said.