The Bear Clan volunteer safety patrol is getting its own storefront that will open as soon as construction is done.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/10/2018 (1312 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Once ready for occupancy, the Bear Clan's office at 584 Selkirk is expected to be open from 9 a.m. until late in the evening. (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press files)</p>

Once ready for occupancy, the Bear Clan's office at 584 Selkirk is expected to be open from 9 a.m. until late in the evening. (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press files)

The Bear Clan volunteer safety patrol is getting its own storefront that will open as soon as construction is done.

The group has operated out of a room in the nearby Ndinawe Youth Centre since it reconstituted in the wake of Tina Fontaine’s disappearance.

Four years later, co-founder James Favel said the clan is ready to open their own centre, about a block away, at 584 Selkirk Ave.

They’re rented a storefront and plan to move in quickly.

"We need a permanent place to be. Because Ndinawe is a youth drop-in centre, we’re only allowed to be there after 5:30 p.m. We’ve loved the fact they’ve let us use that space and it’s been helpful and beneficial, and all that," Favel said.

"But it’s time for us to have a more permanent presence in the community and this storefront will help us do that."

Right now, Ndinawe is closed temporarily for renovations and the clan is operating out of a 12-metre-long container car parked nearby. Favel got the container for storage, never imagining it would be a den for the group, even temporarily.

The Bear Clan started talking with the landlord last spring but the discovery of asbestos and its subsequent removal delayed the opening.

Once ready for occupancy, 584 Selkirk is expected to be open from 9 a.m. until late in the evening.

"We’ll be there whenever we want, around the clock if we like. We’ll be able to open whenever it suits us," Favel said. "In the winter when it’s cold and people need a place to be."

Plans call for the new den to include an internet café, space for workshops on resumé-writing, some training and laundry facilities.

Bear Clan members, all volunteers, are now doing regular patrols Wednesday through Sunday each week in the North End, Thursdays and Fridays in the West End and Fridays and Saturdays in the West Broadway area. It also holds youth mock patrols to involve young people in their community. There are between five and 16 people per patrol. The group welcomes volunteers and can be contacted through its Facebook page.

The patrol also has a half-dozen full- and part-time staff members.

"We’re going to be looking at expanding that in this new space. We’ll need people to man the desk, that sort of thing," Favel said.

"The landlord has suites above and he’s sort of asking us to put people we know in those suites upstairs. There’s a couple of people in mind already. What it is, is communal living. There’s four bedrooms and a communal living area. We’d like to be able to put some of the people we know in need in that area. They’ll be able to provide 24-hour security for our building."

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca