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Hundreds of Kelowna residents line up to check out Salvation Army’s new digs

Saturday, March 13th, 2010 | 6:00 pm

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Kevin Mack opened the Salvation Army's new location in Rutland

By Kathy Michaels

Since opening their doors during the First World War, the Salvation Army has had a presence in Kelowna’s downtown.

But, starting today, it will no longer be situated within the hub of the city.  Riding a population wave, it’s relocated to an area where volunteers can help more families, said  Kevin Mack, at the opening of the Salvation Army’s new digs in Rutland.

About 300 attended the  grand opening, taking time to listen to political speeches, peruse the new thrift shop and get an idea of what there was to offer at Community Life Centre.

“It’s been great,” said Mack, while walking through the store, fielding questions on how much various items were to deal seekers.

With a sweeping gesture, he explained the thrift shop took the place of the Old Valley Lanes Bowling Alley and next door, the pub transformed into the Community Life Centre, a place where locals can access everything from legal aid to counselling and mentoring services.

And, all of it is encased in a decidedly modern, and breezy looking building — a far cry from what it once was. For months construction crews have been gutting, and then later rebuilding the site, said Mack, noting that the aim was to build a location that would complement the neighbourhood.

More importantly for the Sally Ann  however, is that the change marks a new chapter in its history, as the Rutland locale is the first owned and operated by the organization.

“Everything just came together,” said Mack, of how they found out about the site and made the decision to move.

While everything lined up for a relocation, that didn’t mean that the site had the approval of its new neighbours, who were concerned the coming of the Sally Ann would mean a soup kitchen or homeless shelter would soon follow.

Those concerns were soon quelled, Mack explained, noting their services were largely family focused and other service agencies that are situated  in the downtown address the needs of Kelowna’s homeless population.

Rutland resident Tanya Harnett said she had no concerns.

“It’s a good addition to the community,” she said. “They have a lot of resources for families and this is a neighbourhood that can use it. And, as for the thrift store goes, I like getting a good deal when I can.”

Hundreds of Kelowna residents line up to check out Salvation Army's new digs4.855

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One Response to “Hundreds of Kelowna residents line up to check out Salvation Army’s new digs”

  1. Steve T says:
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    Thank God those concerns were quelled. One would absolutely hate to think that people would be taken care of somewhere. If they put a soup kitchen or shelter in, then people might actually have to look at homeless people. God forbid.

    If we don’t have to see them then we can pretend that they don’t exist and all the while focus on “property values” even though study after study shows that a shelter has no impact on them…

    Lucky for Rutland though…they can heave their collective sigh of relief.

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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