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VIDEO: Sod-turning for $10 million Cowichan Hospice House a joyful event

A happy crowd gathered near Cairnsmore Place to celebrate the arrival of Hospice House

The Cowichan Valley gathered in an exuberant crowd Thursday, July 18 to celebrate the sod turning for the Cowichan Valley Hospice House.

Everyone was there: from spokespeople and politicians to those who had worked in the background at many, many groups and agencies who could see “their” project moving forward.

The theme of the speakers and presenters, who were led by Health Minister Adrian Dix, was community. The community needed a hospice house, and the community got together and put their backs into finding the funds needed to build it.

“High quality, compassionate end-of-life care for British Columbians is a vital service and we are committed to supporting our community partners in bringing important projects like this one to completion,” said Dix, pointing to the amazing way those partners had stepped up locally.

The B.C. government, through Island Health, will provide $1.4 million in annual operating funding, including medical staff. When completed in fall 2020, the facility will offer expert, compassionate care to people with advancing illness who can no longer be cared for at home.

Cowichan Hospice committed themselves to raise $8.7 million of the $10 million needed to build and furnish the new hospice care facility.

With the outstanding support of individuals and community-based organizations, $4.6 million has been raised and $5.2 million is being provided by the Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District. That leaves only $200,000 and Christa Fox, Cowichan Hospice Task Force chair, who emceed the event, said that raising that last bit of cash should not be difficult.

Fox broke into tears a couple of times in her happiness.

“We are so pleased to see construction starting on Cowichan Hospice House. Many, many people have worked hard, as a team, to bring us to this exciting moment,” she said.

Leah Hollins, board chair of Island Health, was also at the event, and said Hospice House “will ensure that people will maintain their dignity and comfort as they near the end of their life journey.”

Ian Morrison, chair, Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District Board, said he runs into hospice supporters wherever he goes.

“Supporting Cowichan Hospice House with $5.2 million from hospital district capital reserve funds was one of the easier decisions I’ve made,” he said.

The Tzinquaw Dancers gave a moving presentation, including their “Remembrance” song for those who have gone before, and explained some of the cultural references in the songs and dances.