Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 21: Health (18-24)

New community building for Edmonton with federal investment of $21M

May 7, 2024

NationTalk: ReNew Canada – The downtown core in Edmonton will have an improved facility for an essential range of programs and services after a combined investment of more than $45 million from the federal government and the Boyle Street Community Services.

Announced by Minister Randy Boissonnault and Jordan Reiniger, executive director, Boyle Street Community Servicesthis new building space will be better suited to providing health and community supports for those experiencing homelessness and poverty in the growing downtown region of Edmonton.

“Through this major investment in the new okimaw peyesew kamik (King Thunderbird Centre) in Edmonton, the federal government is delivering for downtown Edmonton. Ensuring the important work of Boyle Street Community Services can continue in one centralized location that provides a reliable and safe space for the community will make our downtown a safer, more vibrant place to work and live. This world-class facility is being built to better accommodate the unique needs of a vulnerable population and will provide dignified support to those who need it most in our city,” said Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages.

The new okimaw peyesew kamik (King Thunderbird Centre) will be an energy-efficient and accessible facility that replaces the former community centre building. The new facility will provide essential health and housing support services while supporting Edmonton’s vulnerable community all under one roof. Located just two blocks north of the former space, the Centre will have private outdoor space for ceremonies and land-based healing, as well as 75,000 square feet of indoor space, including a triage area for people awaiting health support and services. Improvements to this solution-oriented and innovative space includes better accessibility to services on the main floor and the incorporation of important aspects of Indigenous culture and ceremony throughout. The upgraded building will be net-zero carbon and will serve as headquarters to Boyle Street Community Services.

See also Watay power project connects its first community

Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages. (Government of Canada)

“Today’s transformative $21 million contribution to okimaw peyesew kamik (King Thunderbird Centre) through the Government of Canada’s GICB grant ensures that those our organization serves will receive the health and community services they deserve in a welcoming, accessible, and beautiful building. It also allows us to build a carbon-neutral, climate-resilient building that enables our organization to sustainably support our community for decades to come. This project’s success is another example of the care and compassion that exists across Edmonton and Canada. It reminds us what can be achieved when we come together and put the dignity of our most vulnerable neighbours at the centre of our efforts. On behalf of all of us at Boyle Street, I want to thank Ministers Boissonnault, Fraser, and their teams for their tireless work and advocacy for our organization and their roles in making okimaw peyesew kamik a reality,” said Reiniger.

For over 50 years, the work of Boyle Street Community Services have been impactful for those experiencing homelessness and poverty. This new facility will allow the Boyle Street Community Services to continue its longstanding work in the community offering essential programs like basic needs support, health services, substance-use support, ID and financial services, cultural healing, and essential amenities.

The federal government is investing $21,000,000 in this project through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program and the Boyle Street Community Services is contributing $24,023,383 through their capital campaign.

Chandos Construction are partnering with Boyle Street Community Services and HSEA (Hodgson Schilf Evans Architects Inc.) to redevelop the two-and-a-half-acre parcel of land, transforming a former commercial office into the community centre. Upgrades to the facility include a new building envelope, a complete interior fit-out, new building systems, land regrading, and landscaping influenced by Indigenous art and design.

Featured image: The most recent rendering of Boyle Street Community Services’s King Thunderbird facility, in Edmonton, Alta. (Boyle Street Community Services)