The Ksan Society has purchased the Elks Hall on the Southside as a new home for its damp shelter because the demand for services have outstripped the size of its current location on the 4400 Block of Lakelse Ave.
Speaking to the City of Terrace council Aug. 10, society executive director Amanda Owens said that since it purchased the Lakelse Ave. location for its Turning Points service and opened it up in 2016, demand for accommodation and also meals and basic services has grown “astronomically”.
“From 10 people a day on average we’re now averaging 40 people a day,” said Owens of the shelter which has space for 20 beds in addition to other supports.
Owens said the Elks Hall, at 5,800 square feet, approximately five times the current Turning Point spot, will provide Ksan with far more space to handle demand.
The Elks Hall is located on Tetrault, across the street from the new Mills Memorial Hospital project.
Shelters such as Turning Point are commonly termed ‘damp’ as people are permitted inside who may have been drinking.
But before any move can take place, the new spot on needs an extensive outdoor and indoor renovation, Owens said. Plans include new siding, replacing the current outdoor ramp access and new washrooms and showers.
Owens appeared before council to ask for its support in an application being made to a Northern Development Initiative Trust program which can provide up to $500,000 for community projects.
Council is providing a letter but also posed a series of questions to Owens, most notably regarding plans for tent pads and security commitments.
Councillor Lynn Christensen told Owens that camping now taking place on lands adjacent to the Sonder House housing complex which is also run by Ksan.
Owens said there will be a privacy fence built and a buffer zone between the tenting space and neighbouring properties.
She reassured Councillor James Cordeiro who wanted to know if the current security provisions on Lakelse Ave. will also be in place at the new location by incorporating patrols with the society’s other housing and services complex two blocks east on Hall St.
“We actually want security to monitor that two-block radius because we don’t want an incidents happening between those two blocks and with any of the residential areas,” said Owens.
She also said that once Turning Points is moved, Ksan has plans for a passenger vehicle service so that people have access to it and other services. within the community.
Using the existing taxi service has been a problem with either violence or non-payment of fares, Owens said.