UPDATED: Salvation Army planning to move to Vanier

Salvation Army Byward Market

The Salvation Army is planning a move to Vanier.

The organization has submitted a planning application to redevelop 333 Montreal Road, currently a Salvation Army thrift store.

The new 103,000-square-foot facility "is designed to serve a broad range of community needs" and be a catalyst for the redevelopment of Montreal Road."

CTV News has learned the $60-million community hub would replace the organization's ByWard Market location, which has been the focus of controversy for neighbouring businesses and residents.

The move is in response to Mayor Jim Watson calling for the shelter to be moved out of the downtown core.

Marc Provost with Salvation Army Booth Centre says the new facility will have 10 fewer emergency shelter beds but will more than double the number of beds for addictions treatment and will offer life skills, medical and mental health beds.

“This is golden opportunity for us to do things differently the way we've wanted to but couldn’t before because we were limited by bricks and mortar,” Provost said, following a news conference announcing the changes.

Barry Hobin and his team designed the 100,000 square foot facility.

“It's not about replacing the Booth Centre,” Hobin said, “but actually rethinking the Booth Centre and thinking towards the future.”

The Salvation Army says after an extensive search, 333 Montreal Road was deemed the ideal location for their facility.  They bought it for $5 million dollars but the councillor for the area is asking them to push the pause button on their plans. Mathieu Fleury has teamed up with the MP and MPP for Ottawa-Vanier, supporting the concept of this facility and its move out of the Byward Market but questioning how it all unfolded.

“We’ve got our challenges on Montreal Road,” Fleury said, “we've seen reduction of crime in Vanier but look at business mix, the weed shops, the payday loans, along with drug addictions and mental health along that corridor.  We need shelters, but it’s important to do it right.”

But Marc Provost insists it has been done right, “We are coming in to (the Vanier area) to bring the services to people who are currently causing trouble there and we will house them and we will support them; so we are part of the solution.”

But Vanier's Business Improvement Association says being part of that solution means involving the community in important decisions like this.

“I do have questions about how site was selected,” Mark Kaluski, the chair of the BIA said, “and how they went so far down the path of having architectural drawings without even notifying the community that this was coming.”

The Salvation Army has submitted an application to the city of Ottawa to rezone the property on Montreal Road.  If the application is approved, they expect to begin construction in 2019.

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