PRINCE ALBERT -- Prince Albert City Council is creating a group, consisting of a variety of agencies, in hopes of improving homelessness, addiction and food insecurity downtown.

The group will consist of agencies such as the Prince Albert Grand Council, Indian Métis Friendship Centre and the Prince Albert Downtown Improvement District, who will discuss ideas for improvement with government representatives.

Ward 6 Coun. Blake Edwards brought forward the idea at Tuesday’s city council meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

“There’s lots of organizations working on similar issues. The problem is many of them aren’t working together,” he said at the meeting.

“Many are fighting for the same funds. They’re fighting the same battle and fighting for the same cause.”

Edwards said it’s important to include provincial and federal government representatives because “Prince Albert is unique.”

“We’re dealing with some issues that many other cities aren’t. They’re dealing with some, but not like Prince Albert, and they (government) need to be part of the solution.”

It’s a transient community, he said, where many are “banned” from their home communities and end up in Prince Albert as a last resort.

Ward 8 Coun. Ted Zurakowski said it’s time for a roundtable talk to curb these intertwined issues.

“I think we’ve been slowly evolving towards this conversation that, to me, clearly now we are ready to have. The city, we have a role to play here – and that’s as host,” said Zurakowski.

Mayor Greg Dionne said in-person discussions will be “on the priority list” once gathering limits expand throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.