By KAT LEE
A large multi-purpose room and community kitchen space are in the works at the Ksan House Society.
Renovations have begun on the old emergency shelter building on Hall St. to open up part of the house for community use.
Work is being done to transform the eight rooms and two bathrooms that used to be on the south side of the aging residence into one big open space. The idea is for it to be a common ground area for the food aspect of community development, said Ksan’s Diana Penner. It will be called the Ksan Place.
“We will be developing programs that will further food security in town,” she said.
The space will allow Ksan to expand some services and programs and provide space for workshops. For example, the space can be used to teach basic skills like home cooking.
Penner said it’s all about improving food security; they’ll be developing a garden beside the greenhouse, and want to use as much produce as they can. The new space will also be roomy enough for people with mobility issues to move freely, and it will have a handicapped washroom and handicapped ramp. Penner said right now, the greenhouse is not set up for wheelchair accessibility, and they’re hoping to develop that in the future.
Painting, some rewiring, and plumbing are being done on the roof, walls, and parts of the floor of the new large room, but turning the existing kitchen into a commercial kitchen might have to be done at a later date. Ksan’s executive director Carol Sabo said the renovations are being done in stages as the society can afford it.
The work is estimated to be a $70,000 project, and Ksan is committing $65,000 of its capital growth money to this project. Penner said she’ll be chasing grants, and fundraising further for the $20,000 needed for a commercial community kitchen. The new space is expected to be finished in April.
The old emergency shelter currently houses the damp shelter, which provides a place for the night for people who are intoxicated. There are three rooms being used for the damp shelter this year, which has space for 13 people, and there’s an extra room with space for one or two beds if overflow beds are necessary.
Sabo explained that the damp shelter is located on the north side of the building, while these renovations are on the south side of the residence. Also, she said, the renovations take place during the day between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., while the damp shelter operates from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m.