The Ksan Society is proceeding with renovations on the recently-purchased old Elks Hall so it can become the new home for its Turning Points homeless shelter now located on Lakelse Ave. in the downtown core.
With the society now owning the building and property on Tetrault Ave. on the southside, its plans to move the shelter are in place, says society executive director Amanda Owens.
“Unfortunately we’ve invested our own funds into this location and it wouldn’t be feasible to put our project on hold at this point,” said Owens.
“We are moving forward with the renovations needed to move the shelter into the building so we can better serve folks.”
Owens’ comments follow the presentation to council at its Sept. 26 meeting of a 372-name petition, and additional letters, opposing the move.
Council then passed a motion that does not single out Ksan but does call for a “multi-agency discussion to determine a suitable location within the City of Terrace to provide the necessary services people need with minimal impacts on surrounding communities ….”
Council also acknowledged the Tetrault St. property’s zoning permits a shelter to be located there.
Owens said Ksan applied for a number of grants and has already received some, allowing it to proceed with renovations specifically geared toward amenities for shelter clients.
“Our priorities are the courtyard and privacy fencing, washrooms, showers and laundry,” she said. “We have placed supply orders and should be starting shortly.”
One large grant application is still outstanding and that is with a Northern Development Initiative Trust program that provides up to $500,000 for community projects.
Owens said that grant application, if successful, will provide the majority of the renovation project financing.
She was not at liberty to disclose the source of the grants already received, she said.
Other items on the renovation list include outside siding and accessibility improvements to the main entrance.
Councillor James Cordeiro, in discussing the new location for the Turning Points shelter at the Sept. 26 council meeting, did suggest that should the city find another location, it could then engineer a land swap with Ksan.
Owens said she was unable to comment on that idea as it would depend upon what was being proposed.
“I think anytime agencies can collaborate it supports the community better,” she said of the prospects of a multi-agency meeting being suggested by the city.