On Monday, January 15, 2024, Peace River Town Council approved the allocation of $20,000 to the Peace River Regional Women’s Shelter (PRRWS) to address black mold issues at the shelter facility.

The funding approval took place at a Special Council Meeting, resulting from a request by PRRWS for emergency funding, after regular upkeep and facility maintenance revealed black mold. The Town’s funding will help PRRWS in the remediation efforts being undertaken at its Emergency Shelter, and will also help fund the replacement of the building’s furnaces to prevent any future mold issues.

“Council, and everyone at the Town of Peace River, recognizes the importance of the Women’s Shelter to our community and to the region, especially for those needing its services,” said Mayor Elaine Manzer. “The Town understands the urgent need to finance the building fix, and we are proud of the fact that we are able to support the Shelter”

PRRWS provides 24 spaces for women and children. At the Jan. 8 public meeting, Council was informed that 82 shelter requests have had to be denied due to the mold issue.

“The funding that the Town of Peace River is providing us is essential for the progress to complete the necessary renovations to the Shelter,” said Sandra O’Doherty, Executive Director of PRRWS. “At this time, we are unable to house women and children who are fleeing abuse. With the limited Shelter spaces in northern Alberta, this is detrimental.”

Due to the ongoing remediation efforts, the PRRWS Emergency Shelter is unable to accept clients at this time. However, it is still offering in-person, phone, and video call programming through the Shelter’s Outreach Programs for children, youth, adults, and families. More information about Shelter programming is available at www.prrws.com.

In addition to allocating funding to PRRWS, Council has written to the Minister of Children and Family Services, Hon. Turton Searle, and to Peace River MLA, Hon. Dan Williams, to seek financial support from the Province to assist PRRWS.