The Rotary House in Grande Prairie has taken a step forward in improving relationships with its neighbours.

Nearby businesses like the Aberdeen Centre and the Grande Prairie Public Library have had issues with their clients when the leave the property, so Executive Director Caroline Sorge brought together a group of its most immediate neighbours to try and dispell any myths that might circulate about the dorm house.

She argues that it’s important for nearby businesses to have a better idea of who their residents are.

“There may be issues, but for the most part, we have a lot of clients who come in presenting with mental health issues that because we have a nurse practitioner on site we’re able to get them help in a way that other shelters may not be able to.”

They also help their residents get into more permanent housing.

Some of the complaints that came up at the meeting included clients parking in nearby businesses’ lots, leaving needles in the playground of Stepping Stones Daycare, and gathering in large groups that can be intimidating to customers.

Jared Gossen with the Rotary House hopes to have those concerned owners sign a Good Neighbour Agreement that lays out the rules, and opens a line of communication.

“By design, the downtown core is a multi-user area, and so you have often times competing interests for the same space. Reality is, we all need to use the space without disrupting too too much the well being of the other groups.”

The next step is to meet with the owners one on one to talk about possible solutions.