Ian Pratt of the Salvation Army unlocks the doors on a mobile emergency shelter behind the Sally Ann in January. The shelter has since been removed from the site.

Temporary emergency shelter quietly leaves town

The modified shipping container used briefly to house the homeless in Chilliwack was removed before the cold snap hit.

It left town quietly, and without any of the fanfare with which it arrived.

The modified shipping container used briefly to house the homeless in Chilliwack was removed before the cold snap hit.

It left town quietly, and without any of the fanfare with which it arrived.

The Temporary Homeless Relief Shelter, which had been on loan to the Chilliwack Salvation Army, is no longer parked behind the Care and Share Centre on Yale Road, confirmed Salvation Army official Ian Pratt.

“I can’t talk about the details, as per the instruction of our lawyers,” Pratt told The Progress. “All I can say is that we were directed to remove the unit from our property by our superiors, in conjunction with our funding agency.”

It was donated to the Sally Ann by a Langley businessman and was set up in Chilliwack in January to take the pressure off their small emergency homeless shelter space.

City bylaw enforcement officials gave the unit the thumbs’ up for safety after a tour in mid-January.

Then, suddenly, it was hitched up and trucked away about a week before the cold snap hit in February.

Officials with the manufacturing company in Langley, EconoPro, which built the shelter, were perplexed by the sudden pull-out directive they were given by the Sally Ann.

“They said they had some issues and we had to remove it,” said Richard Rotteveel of EconoPro. “I do not know why.”

They’re still working to get some answers in order to move forward with the unique philanthropic project.

“We’ll adjust something if we have to. But as it stands we’re not making any progress,” he said.

The converted container came with eight individual rooms that could accommodate a total of 16. It was heated, insulated, and came with LED lighting, storage space and tons of safety features.

The only obstacle has been the red tape they’ve faced wherever they try to set up the shelter. For some unknown reason none of the communities has been able to give them the green light for it to operate on a semi-permanent or permanent basis.

“We’re even willing to adjust certain aspects,” said Rotteveel.

The shelter is the brainchild of Rob Reid, owner of Shadow Lines Transportation Group, who spent $100,000 customizing the temporary shelter. He came up with the idea to accomplish something concrete to help the growing number of homeless in the Lower Mainland, but has been stymied by bureaucracies ever since.

“We’re open to bringing and deploying it in whatever community can use it,” Rotteveel said.

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