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Ksan lines up $420,000 grant for homeless shelter renovation

Shelter move from downtown to the Southside delayed until January
Work is continuing to transform the old Elks Hall into a homeless shelter on Tetrault on the Southside but its opening has been delayed. (Staff photo)

The Ksan Society is getting $420,000 to help turn the former Elks Hall into its new homeless shelter location.

The money, which comes from the provincial government via the Northern Development Initiative Trust in Prince George, was announced Dec. 13.

Work at the location has been going on since fall and the society had expected to open the location this month but that’s been put off until January because of delays in getting construction material, said society executive director Amanda Owens.

“Furthermore, additional work is being done to address water damage discovered in a wall of the building, as well as to ensure that the electrical is up to code.”

Renovations include updated washrooms, installing showers and laundry facilities.

The society purchased the property on Tetrault St. on the Southside, across the street from the new Mills Memorial Hospital construction project in the summer and then applied for the renovation grant after receiving a letter of support from the city council.

Ksan’s plans to move its 20-bed shelter touched off considerable opposition from Southside residents, resulting in more than 372 people signing a petition to city council asking it to stop the project.

But the city said it could not because the zoning of the property allowed it to be used as a shelter.

A search for a new location for the shelter now on Lakelse Ave. began after the society determined it needed the space for offices.

“The Lakelse Ave. location will be home to Ksan Housing Society administration, as well as the homelessness prevention and harm reduction programs, both of which are already located there,” said Owens.

Already installed at the new location is a fenced in courtyard area containing 16 raised wooden platforms.

Those platforms are suitable for tents but the society has said in the past they should not be treated as a new location for tent encampments now located elsewhere.

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About the Author: Rod Link

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