The Cowichan Lake Community Services Society is renaming its building after its long-time executive director Carol Blatchford. Pictured, from left, are representatives Amanda Sawatzky, Gerry Knox, Colleen Olson and Melaina Patenaude. (Robert Barron/Gazette)

The Cowichan Lake Community Services Society is renaming its building after its long-time executive director Carol Blatchford. Pictured, from left, are representatives Amanda Sawatzky, Gerry Knox, Colleen Olson and Melaina Patenaude. (Robert Barron/Gazette)

Lake Cowichan’s Carol Blatchford to be honoured in building renaming

Blatchford was executive director of community services society for decades

Carol Blatchford will soon be honoured for her 32 years of service to the Cowichan Lake Community Services Society.

The non-profit society intends to rename its building on Point Ideal Road after Blatchford, the long-time executive director of the CLCS before her retirement in June.

The society provides programs and facilities to the people of the Cowichan Lake area intended to enhance and support the quality of their lives through education, prevention, recreation, counselling and support groups.

Amanda Sawatzky, a family therapist who has been with CLCS for 27 years, said it’s only fitting to rename the building after Blatchford considering all the work she did to access funding and galvanize the community to help construct it in the late 1990s, as well as all the other work she has done over the years.


“Renaming the building after her is a way to honour her many contributions to this community,” Sawatzky said.

“This building was first conceived under Carol’s leadership. She managed to find some government money, and funding from the Vancouver Foundation, Telus plus lots of donations from the community, including time and labour, to build it. Even the architect who designed the building donated his time.”

Gerry Knox, who has been the officer manager at CLCS for 27 years, said Blatchford was loved and respected by all the organization’s workers, volunteers and clients.

She said Blatchford isn’t being told that the building will be named after her until the last moment, and it’s hoped she will be pleasantly surprised.

“Carol created a work environment where people wanted to be employed, and the number of long-term staff here is a testament to her leadership,” Knox said.

“It was great to work with her and she definitely needs to be recognized for her contributions to the CLCS and the community.”

Blatchford has been replaced with Melaina Patenaude as executive director of the CLCS, who she handpicked for the position herself before she retired.


Patenaude, who graduated with a masters degree in community development in Alberta and has a background in nutrition, has worked with the United Way with homeless strategies in Nanaimo and Duncan, among other initiatives, before taking over her new position in June.

She said she has lots of ideas to bring to the table at CLCS.

“We have this huge, amazing building that’s underutilized and there are a number of things that could work here,” Patenaude said.

“We have a commercials kitchen, but no permit for it to operate, so I’m working with [Island Health] to get the permit reinstated. Members of the community can then use the kitchen as needed. I have a background in dietetics so I’m also looking at sprucing up the back yard and introducing garden boxes to grow food. Working with their hands in the soil will help some of our clients in therapy programs, and fresh food can be grown there for local use as well.”

Patenaude said the CLCS also has a 15-seat “fun” bus that hasn’t operated since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but it could be rented to community groups and other organizations as long as health protocols are followed.

“I’m also looking at some enhancements and upgrades for the building, which is getting older,” she said.

“The more fresh it is, the more people will feel at home here. I’m really going to enjoy working here.”

Patenaude said if any members of the public have any suggestions for the CLCS, they can email


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Principal Marie-Claude Carrier has overseen the opening of the Cowichan Valley’s first francophone school. (Citizen file)
Registration now open for Duncan Francophone school

École francophone de Duncan opened last fall with six students

Reggie went missing in Duncan’s McAdam Park on Jan. 3 and owner Brittny Bukva is hoping for his safe return. (Submitted)
Have you seen Reggie? Dog went missing in Duncan’s McAdam Park

Have you seen Reggie? Dog went missing in Duncan’s McAdam Park

Workers prepare to take down 28 large trees on private property on Mill Bay Road this week after they were intentionally poisoned almost two years ago. (Submitted photo)
Still no charges over poisoning of trees in Mill Bay

It’s been almost two years since incident involving 28 large trees

Cory Harrington has been found. (Submitted photo)
Missing Lake Cowichan man located

Cory Harrington was last seen on Dec. 11

Alistair MacGregor will have Pharmacare on his mind for a Thursday, Jan. 21 virtual town hall. (Photo by Lexi Bainas/Cowichan Valley Citizen)
Cowichan MP hosting town hall on universal pharmacare

“Pharmacare for All: A Prescription for Your Wallet”

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head prison inmates in receive first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A water taxi at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested after stolen water taxi raced up Victoria’s Gorge Waterway

Man is facing recommended charges of theft over $5,000 after leading police on marine chase

Most Read