Kentville's Open Arms Ministry stunned by cease occupancy order

Nancy Kelly
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Kings County has demonstrated a “complete disregard” for the people served by the Open Arms Ministry in Kentville by issuing a cease occupation order at its downtown location, says Pastor John Andrew.

On July 21, an order, signed by Kings County’s building inspector, was posted on the door of Open Arms' location in downtown Kentville. It calls for the public to “take notice that all persons are hereby to immediately cease occupancy" for the duration of renovations to the building. 

The Town of Kentville contracts building inspection services to Kings County.  

It further states that anyone who contravenes the order or removes the notice could be subject to fines or prosecution.

Open Arms was aware that renovations were scheduled and that they needed to move out during that time, but work had not started yet. 

The posted order came as a complete surprise to Andrew, who co-ordinates the charity, which helps meet the needs of those who find themselves without housing or are hungry or lonely. It helps people secure emergency shelter and necessities of life and provides access to health and social services, assessment and training and employment assistance.

“Nothing of this was mentioned when the same inspector visited our building on Monday,” explained Andrew, who has since contacted a Kings County councillor to seek clarification on the order.

Andrew said the same inspector recently informed Open Arms staff the front offices and bread collection areas could be kept open until construction began. He added that staff had previously dealt with calls about loitering by closing up the nearby alley where people had been congregating and smoking.

Andrew said a call, and not a posted order to cease occupancy, would have sufficed.

“The notice was unnecessary and created undo anxiety and confusion  for participants and for the community at large,” pointed out Andrew.

People standing outside Open Arms July 22 said they were confused and uncertain about what had happened.

Andrew said he hopes the renovation will be done in the near future but recognizes projects of this nature can take a while “to get rolling.”  

The charity had yet to secure an alternate location for the duration of its renovation phase when the order was posted.

In the immediate future, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church has offered space to Open Arms to use three mornings a week for the remainder of the summer.  

 

Organizations: Open Arms Ministry, Cornwallis Inn, Catholic Church

Geographic location: Kings, Kentville

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Trudeau/Boyd (no relation)
    July 27, 2014 - 11:33

    WHO cares get the reno's done...you would think they closed down the Valley Regional Hospital....ST Joseph's has accomodated them for now.. .. the Bldg Inspecters have a job to do...and from the looks of things have to deal with internal politics and political interference.There are more trying issues facing the community.

  • John Andrew
    July 23, 2014 - 18:22

    The notices that had been posted in haste have now been removed! Special thanks to Kings County News for coverage and for response from Warden Diana Brothers and Councillor Emma Van Rooyen. We will continue to use the space at St. Joseph's Catholic Church until the end of Summer at which time our renovations should be under way. Anyone wishing to hear further about Open Arms plans and updates is invited to join us for a BBQ / Corn Boil on August 17th at the Kentville Research Station (upper picnic area) from 2-4pm - https://www.facebook.com/events/275910865925738/

  • John Andrew
    July 23, 2014 - 18:21

    The notices that had been posted in haste have now been removed! Special thanks to Kings County News for coverage and for response from Warden Diana Brothers and Councillor Emma Van Rooyen. We will continue to use the space at St. Joseph's Catholic Church until the end of Summer at which time our renovations should be under way. Anyone wishing to hear further about Open Arms plans and updates is invited to join us for a BBQ / Corn Boil on August 17th at the Kentville Research Station (upper picnic area) from 2-4pm - https://www.facebook.com/events/275910865925738/

  • Justin Trudeau (No Relation)
    July 23, 2014 - 15:31

    I agree with Bill Boyd (No Relation)! Why can't we just wait until somebody gets electrocuted before we issue these things? Geesh ... talk about knee-jerk reactions!!!

    • Bill Boyd (No Relation)
      July 23, 2014 - 17:41

      Justin (yeah right! No relation to anyone in the COK's inspection dept?) You missed my point entirely. I'm not talking about inspections per se but about the way the cease occupancy notice was savagely administered without the courtesy of involving the ministry of Open Doors. Geesh ... talk about knee-jerk reactions!!!

  • Bill Boyd (No Relation)
    July 23, 2014 - 13:19

    Absolutely shocking. Done in a heavy handed, callous manner without warning. The usual mature and professional approach of the COK's inspection department. Way to go guys.