Whitehorse’s new Salvation Army building officially opens

‘It will be life-changing for a lot of people in our community’

Whitehorse’s new Salvation Army building will finally be opening its doors to the city’s needy.

“Today I see new partnerships forming… People starting to talk about how to build a better community, a better Yukon and a better Whitehorse,” Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost said at the opening ceremony Oct. 6, which was held in the centre’s kitchen and dining area and attended by at least 100 people.

“It will be life-changing for a lot of people in our community…. (It will be a facility) where no one will ever be turned away.”

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, Premier Sandy Silver, Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston, NDP Leader Liz Hanson, Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis and Whitehorse Salvation Army executive director Ian McKenzie were among the local leaders in attendance. Salvation Army Colonel Lee Graves and Major Ron Cartmell were also present.

Johnston also presented Graves a wooden healing spirit carving as a symbol of thanks, healing and of recognition of the importance of the land to Indigenous people.

Officially called the Salvation Army Centre of Hope, the new facility is located at Alexander Street and Fourth Avenue and provides much-needed relief to the Salvation Army’s existing shelter on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Black Street, which has been over capacity for years.

While the old shelter contained only 14 beds which filled up every night and forced staff to lay out mats on the floor for anyone else who arrived afterwards, the Centre of Hope contains 25 beds as well as 22 transitional housing apartments.

“As the name suggests, it’ll be a source of hope and comfort for our fellow Canadians who find themselves on the street and in need of shelter,” Bagnell said. Silver also spoke, thanking the community for the “Herculean” effort put into the project.

The federal and territorial governments spent more than $14 million on the centre, which will also offer services like hot meals and culturally-relevant support programming for vulnerable populations.

Those services will be gradually phased in, with the emergency shelter and meal operations scheduled to start by the end of October and the transitional housing and drop-in programs to begin in early 2018.

The centre was originally announced back in March 2015 and scheduled to open the fall of 2016, but faced delays when, during demolition and construction, more contamination than expected was found in the soil. The site formerly housed a gas station and auto-repair shop and crews had to clean up fuel, solvents and asbestos, among other things.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

City of Whitehorse tells taxi passengers who feel unsafe to not travel alone

Suggestion criticized by advocates for placing burden of safety on passengers, not taxi companies

Whitehorse’s new emergency room slated to open in early January

40,000-square-foot building will be more efficient, officials say

Judge finds Whitehorse man not guilty of raping teen in 2015 after second trial

Judge Raymond Wyant found Jackie James Kodwat not guilty of sexual assault.

Whitehorse’s sidewalks are a deathtrap

In the interest of safety and simplicity, the city should just plow the sidewalks

Police, coroner investigating suspicious death in Pelly Crossing

Investigators have ordered an autopsy, which will take place in Vancouver Dec. 18

Two Yukon projects shortlisted for the Arctic Inspiration Prize

Projects from Whitehorse, Carcross up for cash

Lower Post, B.C., man suing Yukon RCMP over assault allegation

Suit alleges man ended up with ‘ended up with bruising on his arms, biceps and chest’

Yukon needs a better plan for long-term care

The government can find solutions if it has the will. Does it have the will?

Hard travel over the Yukon’s winter trails

The overland trip to Dawson City today is a cakewalk compared to a century ago

Globalization infiltrates the Yukon’s recycling bins

You’re going to have to do a better job sorting your junk or else China won’t take it

Driving during the holidays

It’s hectic on the roads at Christmastime

Whitehorse council chambers needs new audio-visual equipment

‘More than 10 people’ watch city’s televised meetings

Most Read