Salvation Army is looking to move its thrift store to the site of the former adult learning centre

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The Salvation Army is proposing to relocate its retail store to the former site of the adult learning centre on Huntsville’s Centre Street North.

“The adult learning centre has closed down and as a result the space on Centre Street has become vacant. The Salvation Army has been looking for a considerable time for a location that is closer to town and more affordable,” John Gallagher, planner for the applicants, told Huntsville’s planning committee at its September 11 meeting.

Gallagher said the Salvation Army had approached planning staff at the municipality and were told a retail use was not permitted under the current zoning.

“There had been retail uses in the past on that property. There was a market there at one time, prior to the adult education centre occurring. There’s other retail uses in the area,” he argued. “Committee has approved a new Official Plan that allows retail uses in mixed commercial areas. In that regard, this is a timing issue so when council sometimes makes decisions that may be contrary to staff’s opinion, I’m sure if you ask staff the day after the assent of the new Official Plan is made, they would say that the application conforms.”

Gallagher also added that it can take at least a year to update a comprehensive zoning bylaw in order to implement a new Official Plan.

“My clients want to move forward with their new location. There’s ample parking on the site… this allows for jobs and retail growth and fills up an empty spot on Centre Street,” said Gallagher.

Salvation Army major Darren Wiseman also spoke to committee.

“One of the main reasons that we’re here is that we’re here to help people,” said Wiseman. “Right now we’re in a position where financially the place that we’re in right now is costing us so much money that it’s making it hard financially for us to continue on.”

Wiseman said the search has been ongoing for close to two years, and the former adult learning centre has been the best option.  He said relocating to that site would save the Salvation Army close to $100,000 per year. “That’s a lot of money and the money that we raise at our thrift store goes back into our community in different ways. And so we want to be good stewards of what we’ve been given and this is just one way that we have of making sure that the money that’s given to us, money that we raise through all the donations that we get goes back into our community.”

Wiseman said the location is more accessible for those dropping off donations as well as those using the service.

Committee voted in favour of the zoning change. The recommendation is expected to be ratified by Huntsville Council when it meets on September 23, 2019.

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8 Comments

  1. It makes perfect sense to me. The Salvation Army must be either a charity or a not-for-profit, and as such, should be allowed a form of “priority seeding” in these instances. Having read the new OP, however, I don’t recall a section dealing with them.
    .
    On the obverse of the coin, if we no longer have an adult learning centre, where does one attain these services? At the YWCA/Literacy Council? By private tutor? In another town? Online? This may not be of concern to a large number of our residents, but education is the driver of career advancement; and cannot be ignored.

  2. Is this yet another instance of crippling rental rates (landlord greed), or a darker agenda aimed at re-shaping the north side of King William? Either way, good call on the part of the town council. Obvious zoning irregularities shouldn’t stand in the way of this proposal. The neighbours are hardly going to complain….

  3. The adult learning centre in now in the high school. Let’s move on this and give these wonderful helping people, a place to help people. Hopeful the building will get the care it needs, it is starting to look very run down.

    • Yes–the Salvation Army helps people who have nowhere else to turn. They are currently meeting the needs of many families (such as the family who just got burned out of their house on East Elliott Street). Let’s give them a helping hand with this project. The outrageously high rents charged by out-of-towners is crippling local enterprise.

  4. How exciting to have a change in one of the busier areas of town and definitely more central for access. Parking situation would be greatly improved as well. It is a fiscally responsible move for the Salvation Army and that makes me pleased to see that they want to be good stewards for the gifts they are given. I hope that the Town can see an opportunity to help a not for profit like the Salvation Army and the bigger picture of helping facilitate accessibility where they can.

  5. This building was originally built by Barrie Supply, a plumbing and electrical supply wholesaler.
    They built it and operated it for many years. This would be a sales business would it not?

    Anyway, this could be a great location and if the rent is less that is going to be even better.

    • The old building for Barry supply was there it was rebuilt by the Watts and one of the previous managers of the old IGA grocery store which is now FreshCo as a small farmers type Market. They tried to have the simple things in there like a butcher Baker and vegetable market like Rick Watts had years ago down on the waterfront

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