Penticton’s Salvation Army is looking at a new home for their thrift store and food bank operations.
City council is being asked to allow a zoning amendment that will allow the Sally Ann to move their operations into what was the Penticton Western News’ home for many years. The Western News is now located downtown at 104-575 Main St.
Major Tim Leslie said the location, on Camrose Street, isn’t too far away from their current operation at the corner of South Main Street and Kinney Avenue.
It not only increases the amount of space they would have, but Leslie said the move would have another major benefit.
“It’s a building we would own, where we are renting currently. It makes sense from a business perspective to move there,” said Leslie. “We need more room for the programs we have now. That is really at the centre of it and of course, eliminating the cost of rent. More space, less money.”
Leslie said they’ve been in the South Main location for about 15 years.
“The location has served us very well,” said Leslie. “But it’s time for something bigger, to cut our costs a little and be able to do more with what we get.
“It will give us some things we don’t have right now. Some classroom space, right on site, rather than sending people over to the church for some things.”
That includes their community kitchen program, where they help food bank recipients and others to learn the benefits of cooking meals from scratch.
“They use the church right now, which is actually a commercial kitchen. A community kitchen should actually look a little more like the kitchen you have at home,” said Leslie. “It will be a bit of a demonstration kitchen in the classroom area there. It will be a little more homey than what we have.”
The building is in the industrial zone, but the Salvation Army has consulted with the Penticton Industrial Development Association. The association supports the new use, provided the site reverts to industrial zoning if the Salvation Army vacates.
To that end, city staff are recommending a site-specific amendment, allowing the non-profit to operate family service operations to include life skills training (may include cooking, budgeting, first aid); employment skills training and work experience facilitation; a second hand store which primarily sells donated used merchandise; a food bank for the purposes of storing and distributing food products for non-profit and charitable purposes and operating administrative offices.
Once the deal is final and the zoning amendment is approved, Leslie expects it might take six months to a year before they are ready to move in.
“By the time various renovations and repairs are done and that sort of thing, and all the discussions that have to go with that. We will have to engage an architect,” said Leslie. “I am loathe to do that until we have a deal and we can’t really close the deal until I am sure of the zoning will be approved.”
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News