What started out as a relatively small project for the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary (CHCA) turned into a massive project. But thanks to help from the community, renovations to the CHCA Thrift Store on 8th Avenue are proceeding apace.
The issue came to light when the Auxiliary decided to replace the carpet in the thrift store. “The carpet was more than 10 years old,” said Odette Rouse, a CHCA board member. “With the traffic we have — 200 to 250 people a day — it was getting quite worn. So we decided to replace it.”
While seeking bids to do the job, the CHCA approached Tim Strauss, manager at Home Depot in Cranbrook, who informed them that through the community volunteers of “Team Depot,” that job could be done for free.
It was a big job — more than 3,000 square feet of carpet were to be replaced. “When Team Depot does a job like that it’s usually two days,” Rouse said. “Tim organized it all.”
But as they began to take out the carpet, asbestos was discovered in the underlying glue and in and under the tiles. The project suddenly became massive. “It blew up in in all our faces,” said Kate Fox with the CHCA. “But in the end there was significant contribution from the community.”
Proteck Hazardous Material Management was called in, who took a week to deal with the asbestos and removed all the contaminated material. Then the volunteers of Team Depot returned, along with Contractor Nick Petkau, of Home Ability Renos out of Sparwood, and numerous volunteers like Bill Brock.
“Some of the work was done by volunteers, some we had to pay for,” Rouse said.
But the volunteer work was significant. Bill Brock, for example, touched up the paint, put the baseboards back in, and did other fine finishing work. He also built to wheelchair ramps. DuraDeck will put the non-slippery finish on these decks, and Mission Hills Moving moved all the heavy items like shelving so the work could be done in time for a grand opening next week.
The Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift is a real community centre point. The CHCA has a volunteer base of 244 members, and 120 help run the thrift store. In it’s inaugural year in the 1980s, operating out of a basement, it generated $16,000 for the Cranbrook Hospital. Last year, operating out of its storefront on 8th Avenue South, it generated more than $420,000, all proceeds going to the East Kootenay Regional Hospital.
The Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary is an independent organization, not affiliated with any other health care auxiliary, though it does liaise with other auxiliaries in the region, and hosts an annual conference for regional auxiliaries.