Community

Salvation Army hoping for mid-November centre opening

By  Kathy O'Reilly, North Island Eagle,  Sept. 25 2020

The Port Hardy Salvation Army hopes to open the doors of their new Market Street ‘Centre of Hope’ in mid-November, although thanks to COVID-19 there will be no grand opening fanfare.

According to Community Ministries Supervisor Michael Winter, most of the interior work has been focused on the ground floor which will house The Salvation Army’s shelter operation, commercial grade kitchen, dining room, multi-purpose room, resource room, etc.

The multi-purpose room will be used for workshops and programming and the resource room has computers for public access, said Winter. The new facility will also house an Island Health medical office as well as one for legal services.

The Centre of Hope will continue to offer the same services as before but will have the space to expand the shelter component in the future.

“In our current building we have 10 spaces,” said Winter. Normally they have 12, he explained, but the number of spaces has been reduced due to COVID-19 physical distancing requirements.

“In the new space we will be able to have 12, which is what we are allowed to do within our contract, but we have the potential for 16,” he said.

The funds to build the centre came from Divisional Headquarters, not local ministry dollars. “My job was to write proposals and convince them to invest in the community. It’s quite beautiful that they believe in this town and all the work that was being done here,” Winter said.

Construction costs have doubled since The Salvation Army initially purchased the building a few years ago, Winter said, and a lot of funds have gone into structural building upgrades.

 

Photo — Kelsea Taylor

The Port Hardy Salvation Army hopes to open the doors of their new ‘Centre of Hope’ in mid-November.

A J Elliot playground receives funding

North Island Eagle,  Sept. 25 2020

Students at A J Elliot Elementary School will soon have a new accessible playground, thanks to $125,000 in provincial funding.

“I think this year, more than ever, we are realizing the importance of outdoor play,” said Clair Trevena, MLA for North Island. “Students on Malcolm Island are going to benefit from newer and safer playground equipment, helping them develop key cognitive, social, and physical skills.” Funding for the new playground comes from the provincial government’s Playground Equipment Program (PEP), now in its third year. The program provides up to $5 million each year to school districts to purchase new or replacement playgrounds. This year, 40 schools are receiving $125,000 each towards a new, universally-accessible playground – a $25,000 increase for each playground from last year’s investment. Playgrounds help promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles, encourage children to share, develop conflict resolution skills and overcome challenges. Playing outside helps reduce anxiety, improves focus, and helps enhance students’ attention spans.

The PEP was launched in 2018. Since then, government has invested $15 million to provide 141 new playgrounds to schools throughout the province, benefitting over 35,000 students. 

Every school district has now received at least one new playground. The program relieves parents of some of the responsibility for fundraising for playground equipment and provides access to communities that don’t have the fundraising capacity to buy the playground equipment students need.

The PEP is a part of the Province’s commitment to update aging infrastructure in B.C. schools to provide safe, enjoyable and accessible learning environments. 

Photo —AJ Elliott Elementary School

AJ Elliott Elementary School on Malcolm Island received $125,000 for its new playground.

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