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New Southside homeless shelter renos nearly complete

Ksan Society to move shelter to refurbished Elks Hall from current downtown location
Renovations going on at the old Elks Hall on Tetrault for its next purpose as a homeless shelter includes removing and replacing the old rust-coloured siding. New windows have also been installed. (Staff photo)

Renovations to convert the old Elks Hall on Tetrault St. across the street from the Mills Memorial Hospital property into a homeless shelter are continuing and expected to finish late March.

The building was bought by the Ksan Society last summer as a new home for the shelter which is now housed in a society-owned building on the 4400 Block of Lakelse Ave. in the downtown core.

“Work has continued, although completion continues to be delayed by long lead times in receiving supplies and most recently, bathroom fixtures. Crews are currently working to complete the bathrooms,” said society spokesperson Vicky Serafini.

Doors and windows have also been replaced and new siding has been put up.

“We have taken accessibility and safety seriously in this renovation. One significant change to the building has been the addition of a lobby to ensure orderly and safe intake of clients,” said Serafini.

The current shelter has a rated capacity of 22 beds and that won’t change at the new location, she added.

One addition to the outside is an enclosed and fenced off area containing 16 raised wooden platforms. It’s intended as a gathering area for those at the shelter.

“Ksan intends to install planter boxes to add to some greenery to the site. This will blend the building into the aesthetic of the surrounding neighbourhood and make the site more welcoming overall,” said Serafini.

News that the old Elks Hall was purchased by Ksan last year was not greeted warmly by some Southside residents who presented Terrace city council with a petition of more than 370 names accompanied by letters opposing the shelter.

Petitioners claimed there has been anti-social behaviour linked to Ksan’s existing shelter and housing complex two blocks away on Hall St. and that a second shelter would increase the troubles they experience.

But the zoning on that property permits it to be used as a shelter and council had already penned a letter of support for Ksan to get a provincial grant, that saw $420,000 provided to Ksan last fall.

That was bolstered by a direct $250,000 provincial grant in February. BC Assessment Authority information indicates the property was assessed at $458,000 last July and that its selling price was $875,000.

When finished and occupied, the building will be called Joe’s Place after a person Serafini said was “an inspiring and compassionate individual who used Ksan Society services.”

Ksan will then convert the shelter space on Lakelse Ave. into offices and space for programs.

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About the Author: Rod Link

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