Once a month, Colette Scrimgeour packs up old clothing and toys and heads down to the Sally Anne Salvation Army.
The View Royal resident has run a clothing swap through the Esquimalt United Church for the last year-and-a-half, and anything left over is distributed among three locations: Our Place Society in Victoria, the Compassionate Warehouse in Esquimalt and the Salvation Army in View Royal.
However, Scrimgeour is concerned she may no longer be allowed to drop off donations to the Salvation Army’s location at 307 Island Hwy., after the Town of View Royal received several noise complaints of people dropping off donations after hours.
“It greatly affects me because of the clothing exchange, and it will affect everybody else who donates there,” Scrimgeour said, adding residents will be forced to take donations elsewhere, such as the Salvation Army on Vanalman Road, Johnson Street or Goldstream Avenue.
“I like to get [clothing] back into the community through the Salvation Army.”
Currently, the Salvation Army accepts donations when the store is open.
But Rob Marshall, acting fire chief and acting director of public safety with the town, which includes bylaw enforcement, said several complaints have been made in the last four months about donations being dropped noisily into bins, which are located outside the store, in the early hours of the morning – which is in contradiction of what the land is zoned for.
Since the complaints began trickling in, Marshall said the Town’s bylaw department and the Salvation Army have tried to come to a compromise to reduce the noise, but were unable to find a solution. “It came down to the use was not compliant with the rezoning.”
Marshall added in order for donations to continue, the Salvation Army must apply to be rezoned from community commercial to light industrial.
“It’s definitely something the town is willing to work with them [the Salvation Army] on, but currently your hands are tied when it’s against the zoning and people are complaining. You have to go with what’s written in the bylaw.”
Despite complaints, the Salvation Army said it is still accepting donations.
“The Salvation Army Thrift Store has been working closely with our neighbours and the Town of View Royal towards a successful resolution of any concerns they may have in regards to accepting donations through our View Royal Thrift Store,” said the store in an emailed statement.
“As part of a national charitable organization we rely heavily on the generosity of our community and are still welcoming donations of gently used clothing, household items and furniture daily in View Royal.”
If the Salvation Army continues to accept donations, in contradiction of zoning, it could face daily fines.