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Salvation Army looks to bring all its services under one roof in Parksville

The Salvation Army is looking at bringing all of its services in the Parksville area under one roof, city council heard last week.

Major Norman Hamelin told council a committee has narrowed down the list of possible new sites to two locations in downtown Parksville. Currently, the Salvation Army has four locations it provides services: the food bank (and administration offices) in French Creek, and downtown Parksville where it has a church (with cold-weather shelter and soup kitchen) and two thrift stores.

"The Salvation Army is in the business of bringing hope to some of the underprivileged of our community," said Hamelin, adding the push for bringing all its services under one roof was spurred by the "inefficiencies of multiple locations."

The Salvation Army provides for 300 local families a month through its Wembley Road location and also provides 1,000 meals a month through its soup kitchen, said Hamelin. He told council his organization has identified what its critical programs are and has developed a wish list.

While there is no immediate plan for a full-time homeless shelter, Hamelin said it’s something that’s on their radar.

“There is a great need for some kind of permanent shelter,” he said.

As for the amalgamation of services under one roof, Hamelin said one of the group’s criteria is its location in downtown Parksville. He also said his group has not yet determined the look of the new facility.

“It’s could be a renovation or it could be a build.”

The Salvation Army owns its church at the corner of the Alberni Highway and Jensen Avenue. Its other facilities are leased.

For now, Hamelin said the Salvation Army is looking to garner financial support from the community for the amalgamation, finalize its program priorities and confirm its top choice for new site.

• Regional District of Nanaimo officials presented council with some information of the review of its solid waste management plan. RDN’s manager of solid waste Larry Gardner and senior solid waste planner Sharon Horsburgh told council the amount of waste from all sectors going into the Church Road landfill has reduced for the last three years.

“That’s a good thing — we want to see waste reduction,” said Gardner.

Council also learned those in this regional district (including the municipalities) average 350 kg of waste, per person, per year, the second lowest in the province. People of the Peace River area are tops at 850 kg per person, per year, council was told.

Gardner said tipping fees drive waste reduction, but economics drive behaviour. The RDN charges $125/tonne in tipping fees, while some Washington state landfills charge only $24/tonne. Barges of waste are being shipped to Washington by carting companies because of these economics, which could mean less money for the RDN operations.

“We’re just starting to see that shift now,” said Gardner. “I think we are going to see that take off in the next year.”

• Council heard a proposal for an 18-suite condo complex on empty land on McMillan Street. A developer has purchased five lots there, but will have to provide access from Morrison Avenue.

Council heard the suites will be 1,900 square feet and there will be balconies on both the front (facing McMillan Street and looking south) and back of the units, two-cars-in-line garages for each unit and rooftop gardens.

The proposal is actually for three adjoined buildings, each having six units with only two units on each of three floors. Developer Jim Hilsentteger called them “bungalows in the sky.”

“There’s a great deal of light in this design,” he said.

Council referred the plan to the advisory planning for review and has also called for the proponent to hold a public hearing about the development.

• The city will be spending $25,000 — $15,000 more than what was in the 2014-18 financial plan — to repair leaky exterior walls of the Parksville Community and Conference Centre.

“If the initial repairs are not completed, it is anticipated that there may be significant damage to the PCCC structure resulting in costly repairs,” director of operations Al Metcalf wrote in his report to council.

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