By Jasmine Franklin
Two signatures cut the tension at the Champion’s Centre for all residents last week after an inspection by an environmental health officer annulled a previous eviction order.
The last two months have been rough for the Champion’s Centre — after a sudden eviction notice due to fire safety concerns, the centre had to install a new fire alarm system connecting directly to dispatchers, install windows in six rooms, house two people per room, change the lounge area into a bedroom with a capacity for four people and give one of the tenants a direct line in case of an emergency at night making it a 24-hour supervised rooming house.
Total costs of the renovations was $12,000. Most were covered by donations from two individuals — one from Edmonton and one from Red Deer. The sleepout challenge brought the centre around $2,500 that also went to renovation costs.
But on Oct. 7, the residents, managers, and directors of the centre breathed a sigh of relief.
“We did it!” cheered Jeff Hanger, assistant director of the centre.
Zaheen Nanji, environmental health officer, inspected the building and determined it now meets the fire safety code and cleared the centre, rescinding the eviction notice.
The centre must hold four fire drills per year and continue with its newest policy, a nightly head count. If a resident is missing at the head count for two consecutive nights, on the third night the centre will contact their next of kin and the police to ensure the resident is still safe.
The remaining rooms are being used as a storage space for clothing and one has been turned into a TV room.
Alberta Health will do yearly checks on the centre to ensure everything is up-to-date, and if any legislation or fire safety laws are changed, the Champion’s Centre will be given notice ahead of time in order to comply with the new legislation.