TRURO – A colder than usual autumn is pushing the opening of the new, permanent home for the Colchester East Hants branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association by about a month.
Susan Henderson, the local branch’s executive director, said work is progressing for a move into the former Bargain Shop building toward the end of June.
“We’ve been told we can expect construction to be finished the end of June, first of July,” said Henderson. Originally, the hope was for the organization to host its annual general meeting in June in the new facility.
“The push is simply because of the fall weather getting so cold, so fast,” she said. “It interfered with their working in there. The contractor said it’s usually mid-December before they would put a heater in place, but they had to use it about a month earlier.”
New beams inside the facility went into place without much of an issue, and Henderson said it caused the roof to rise up a bit.
“It really was needed for the structure of the building,” she said of the new beams.
A new roof is also being installed on the building one section at a time.
“The roof is very important to secure,” said the executive director.
Other than the colder temperatures at an earlier date, Henderson said the renovations haven’t run into any other major problems.
Old bits of asbestos found in the furnace room were taken out before renovations started, and once renos did start, a decision was made to demolish a piece at the back of the building.
Henderson said the organization plans to use a back portion of the building for transition apartments, and in order to do so a fire and sprinkler system would need to be installed
“It made more economic sense to demolish that piece at the back and install the dry sprinkler system for when we start to work with that space,” she said.
The transition apartments, said Henderson, will be affordable residences for people going through a transition back into the public after seeking assistance for a mental health episode.
“When they are released, there are baby steps that are needed. It can be terrifying, so we want to have a place for people to keep safe while they head back out into society.”
In the vacant lot next to the building, the organization plans on utilizing the front portion closest to Prince Street for a public green space. Behind the green space will be parking.
Henderson said the organization has surpassed the $1 million mark on its building campaign, and plans are in the works to reinvigorate the campaign for the rest, with a title of ‘Worth the Wait.’
“It’s certainly been a long wait for everybody but we believe it is worth waiting for,” she said. “It will be a big, bright, accessible space for everybody.”
With the building formerly housing Woolworths, and the vacant neighbouring lot having been home to Zellers, Henderson said the plan is to incorporate interior décor that “evokes those memories, but while giving the space a fresh look…an inviting look.”
BOWLS FOR BALANCE
The sixth annual Bowls for Balance in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association Colchester East Hants branch has been set for May 23.
This year’s event will be held 11 a.m.-3 p.m. in a new location from previous years – it will be at the Truro Farmers’ Market.
Danielle Sawada, with Thrown Together Pottery, is partnering with the branch for the annual event, and 120 bowls will be up for grabs on a first come, first served basis. For $25, attendees can choose their choice of bowl, meal, and a hot beverage.
All sales from the fundraiser will go directly to the branch for programming and services.