Additional funds needed for Zack's Crib renovations

TEMISKAMING SHORES - The last push is on to secure the remaining funding needed to get work started at Zack's Crib in New Liskeard.

Funding for the purchase of a building for the new shelter was secured in late 2020, but an environmental assessment was required for the building, which had formerly housed a dry cleaning operation.

That set the project back a year, said Zack's Crib committee chair Yves Paillé in a telephone interview.

During the lockdown, construction and material costs were rising.

What was originally estimated as a $600,000 project now has an estimated cost of nearly $1 million, he said.

At this time, an additional $240,000 is needed to secure the contractor, JBK Construction of Earlton, this month to get the renovation work underway, he explained. The concern is that the project could be delayed for another winter.

Paillé and his wife Lianne formed a committee approximately three years ago to get a shelter established in the community after witnessing the need with their own son Zack.

A committee has been working to bring the project into reality and the District of Timiskaming Social Services Administration Board helped the committee secure the funding for the purchase of the building at 183 Broadwood Avenue in New Liskeard.

Paillé and other committee members are now starting a corporate blitz to raise the funds needed to secure the contractor this month so that work can begin.

"We're down to the crunch," said Paillé.

The committee will be approaching local corporate organizations, big and small, he said.

"Because of COVID, everything is super expensive," he noted.

To overcome that challenge, the committee is now reaching out and knocking on doors. They have prepared a portfolio to explain the project in detail, and are willing to make a presentation if needed, he said.

"We will see if anyone can help us out for this last push, otherwise we're going to have to wait another winter and we just don't want to do that."

Jason Sereda, who has experience as the executive director of Living Space homeless shelter in Timmins, who is currently assisting the committee on a volunteer basis, has been working alongside the committee with these final hurdles, Paillé added.

He said the committee has also applied for a charitable number, although it has not yet been secured.

"That's been an obstacle," he said.

Funds are needed as soon as possible, he said.

"Within the month we need to let the contractor know."

Paillé stated clearly that the project is continuing in spite of the challenges.

Delays have been caused by the need for the environmental assessment, which set the group back a year, and during that time contractors became very busy and materials doubled in price.

"We're not the only ones with this challenge," he said.

"For anyone trying to do anything these days it's challenge after challenge."

Darlene Wroe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker