Calgary’s mayor says organizers have done an extraordinary job transforming a downtown convention centre into a temporary homeless shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he believes hotel rooms would have been a better option.

“I’ve got to say: the convention centre has really stepped up to the plate at making this as good as it could possibly be given the model,” Naheed Nenshi said Wednesday.

The shelter at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre is being funded by the Alberta government and operated by the Calgary Drop-In Centre.

Opening Thursday for about two months, it is to serve up to 300 people around the clock, freeing up space in existing shelters to allow for more physical distancing.