Cowichan Rotary clubs helping sow Hospice House gardens

Five Cowichan Valley Rotary Clubs team up to beautify the grounds of new end-of-life facility

Gerry Beltgens Special to the Chronicle

Cowichan Valley residents are about $1.2 million and a year or two away from a better end-of-life experience.

And Rotarians from Mill Bay to Ladysmith are adding a special touch.

The Rotary Clubs of Duncan, Duncan Daybreak, Ladysmith, Chemainus and South Cowichan have teamed up to raise the money, labour and materials to build The Rotary Gardens at Hospice House on the grounds surrounding the facility.

Originally quoted at almost $400,000 the Rotary Clubs will put their combined fundraising skills and resources together to bring the project to completion.

RELATED: Cowichan District Hospital Foundation donates $2 million for Hospice House

Rotary Assistant District Governor Gay Wise is very proud that all of the Rotary Clubs in the Valley have stepped up to ensure that the natural environment around the Hospice will be one of peace and serenity.

“As Rotarians we are all excited to be able to take on a project that will be of such significance to all our communities. For me, as Assistant Governor, I feel great about the support I have received from our five clubs, about their enthusiasm for working together to make this beautiful garden happen,” she said.

Formed in September 2015 the Cowichan Hospice House Task Force is about $1.2 million shy of the $10,000,000 in funding required to build, furnish and support the hospice. Once the building is constructed in 2020 the landscaping can proceed. Fundraising for the gardens started in late 2018 and was kickstarted with a donation of $25,000 by the South Cowichan Rotary Foundation, a registered charity.

The five clubs will work together to source materials, equipment, plants and money as per the LADR Landscape Architects plan. On Jan, 14, committees were struck to lead fundraising, public relations and media, and operations.

Care will be taken to reach new donors for the project but all are welcome to participate. Donations can be made to the South Cowichan Rotary Foundation specifically for the Hospice gardens and a receipt will be made out to the donor.

“Cowichan Hospice is deeply grateful for this commitment and support by the Rotary Clubs of the Cowichan Region to make the gardens at the Hospice House a reality,” Cowichan Hospice House Campaign Chair Rob Hutchins said.

Businesses that can supply landscaping materials, plants, trees, equipment and expertise are welcome to contact Sandra Milne at 250-668-8078 or one of the Rotary Clubs, if they wish to donate or supply products.

Cowichan is the only community of its size on Vancouver Island without a residential hospice program, meaning the Cowichan District Hospital has taken on the care of palliative patients.

The Cowichan Hospice House, to be built next to Cairnsmore Place in Duncan, will accommodate seven patients when it opens, with capacity for three additional patients. Island Health plans to provide a 24-hour registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse days and evenings and a registered care aid at night. Cowichan Hospice will provide a part-time counsellor and supervisor and a team of 45 volunteers.

— with a file from Warren Goulding

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