Napanee’s warming centre sees nearly 100 visitors in first year of operation

Adam Prudhomme
Beaver Staff

Greater Napanee’s warming centre has been well used in its first year of operation, with just shy of 100 visitors walking through the door since Jan. 7.

That was the update volunteer John Stinson provided to town council during its regular meeting on Tuesday night.

“I’m very proud to say that we’ve operated every night since Jan. 7,” Stinson told the mayor and council. “We have not missed a shift.”

Located inside the Napanee Area Community Health Centre at 26 Dundas St. W in Napanee, the centre is open each day from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. offering food, coffee and a place to rest for those with otherwise no place else to go.

“So far we’ve had 99 different visitors come to the facility,” said Stinson. “Quite a substantial number. About 60 per cent of the visitors are male, 40 per cent female. Eighty per cent are from Napanee. The others are close by or in transit.”

Operated in conjunction with Morningstar Mission, the United Way and local volunteers, the centre will continue to run through March and possibly into early April.

“Our initial funding was composed of $10,000 from the United Way and $5,000 from PELASS (Prince Edward-Lennox Addington Social Services),” said Stinson. “That took us through to mid-February.”

The group then made a presentation to United Way and was able to secure an addition $10,000 in funding, along with another $5,000 from PELASS.

Stinson also noted that there has been 11 ‘incidents’ at the centre that required intervention from the trained staff, though they were minor in nature. He reported four times in which they had to call OPP and three required a call for a paramedic.

Stinson says they’ve also had to experiment a bit with their scheduling of volunteers, but for the most part it had run smoothly in its first year.

-Greater Napanee council voted to carry a new by-law to regulate open air burning within the town.

The new by-law, No. 2019-0021, was drawn up in an effort to clarify some confusion within the previous by-law, as well as to formally ban burn barrels and flying lanterns.

Greater Napanee Emergency Services deputy chief John Koenig spoke to council about the changes the new by-law would bring forward, which also included a revamp of how the public could access burn permits.

“We’re working towards going online,” said Koenig. “That’s one of the issues that was brought forward by the public.”

Koenig said there would be a yearly fee involved with the online burn permits, though staff is still working out the exact cost.

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