The old North Island Gazette building will soon be turning into a “Centre of Hope.”
Michael Winter, Community Ministries Supervisor for the Salvation Army in Port Hardy, noted that renovations to the building have been going quite well since purchasing it in 2018, and they currently only have the rest of the interior and some structural work left to finish.
“As the ministry is growing, this is just the transition of how things are moving along,” stated Winter about the building. “Before we used to be called the Lighthouse Resource Centre, but now we are the Centre of Hope and are moving in a new direction… It’s not a fresh start, it’s moving forward because we are providing so much more services, meals, programs and resources than we used to. It’s just a natural transition to move into a space where we are able to do so. It’s a beautiful location, it’s in the centre of the community, and that’s why it’s called the Centre of Hope.”
The Salvation Army is aiming to have the building, which is located at 7305 Market Street directly in front of Carrot Park, tenatively finished by mid-November and will be permanently moving there from their previous location at 8635 Granville Street.
A portion of the building’s upstairs will be renovated as well, but it won’t be used for any social programs, primarily just for storage of equipment and office space.
With the new building, the Salvation Army will be able to run the shelter year long, and potentially have the option of expanding the hours of the shelter and the amount of bed spaces as well.
“We have 12 bed spaces right now, but could have the capacity for 16 in the future,” stated Winter, who added that the Salvation Army still offers all the same services that they did pre-COVID. “The only difference is we don’t open the day program for gathering. If someone wants any of the regular services they can come to the front door and we still provide them, but we’re doing so outside of the door.”
Above all else, Winter wanted all of the North Island communities to know that they will definitely be turning the building into “what the title is — a transformative Centre of Hope.”