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Steveston thrift shop wants a facelift

Smaller donation storage containers replace large bins.
Richmond Hospital Healthcare Auxiliary Thrift Shop is waiting on the approval of a city permit to start conservation work on the building.

The Richmond Hospital/Healthcare Auxiliary Thrift Shop wants to restore its original 1890s look with rectangular windows, wooden doors and an authentic historic colour scheme.

This is some of conservation work planned for the building as long as the non-profit society receives a city-approved permit for the work.

This is on the agenda at the city's planning committee next Tuesday.

The non-profit society is asking for a Heritage Alteration Permit for envelope conservation work on the heritage building, previously the Steveston Methodist Church, on Chatham Street near Second Avenue.

Proposed work includes removing stucco from all sides of the building, except for the east wall of the 1927 hall addition, installing a new replica wooden double-hung window sash, repairing and reconstructing the belfry as well as painting of the exterior building in its original colour.

In addition to the alteration permit, they are asking for a grant of $100,000, under the Steveston Village Heritage Conservation Grant Program, to help with the conservation work.

Constructed in 1894, this building is among 17 recognized heritage structures in the Steveston Village Heritage Conservation Area.

It was initially founded as a mission church to serve First Nations cannery workers.

The city issued a Heritage Alteration Permit in May 2018 for the building to install a new foundation -- part of the initial phase of the conservation project. A grant of $150,000 was approved for this work.

Mary Derksen, treasurer of the thrift shop, said this is a step forward to get the building restored to look similar to its original design.

"I think it should be a positive move for everybody as we get it restored and back to its original church," said Derksen, adding the shop is often "cold and drafty" with many parts of the building, like the windows, needing replacement.

"It's a bit of a shock to everybody and there's going to be a change, but I think it's going to be well worth it."

She told the Richmond News they don't expect operations to be affected if the permit is approved and the restoration process begins.

"We hope there won't be any change to our sales or people coming into the store because we are a valuable asset in the community."

Donation storage container replacement

Frequent visitors to the thrift shop will notice that one of the large storage containers was recently removed.

Three storage containers for donations at the shop were placed on Second Avenue during the pandemic for contactless drop-offs.

However, the store has recently been asked by the city to remove the storage containers as they are too big.

The shop has already planned to replace them with two smaller bins and "will prepare as many as (they) need," according to Derksen.

One of the big steel bins on the property belongs to Canadian Diabetes, to which the shop makes donations every day, she explained.

"As for how it's going to affect donations, we're absolutely hoping it does not affect it at all. We can easily get more (bins) if we need," said Derksen.

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