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

Everyone lines up for an official photo at the sod-turning for Cowichan Hospice House beside Cairnsmore Place on Thursday, July 18. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Everyone lines up for an official photo at the sod-turning for Cowichan Hospice House beside Cairnsmore Place on Thursday, July 18. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Everyone lines up for an official photo at the sod-turning for Cowichan Hospice House beside Cairnsmore Place on Thursday, July 18. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Everyone lines up for an official photo at the sod-turning for Cowichan Hospice House beside Cairnsmore Place on Thursday, July 18. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Everyone lines up for an official photo at the sod-turning for Cowichan Hospice House beside Cairnsmore Place on Thursday, July 18. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Health Minister Adrian Dix talks to the crowd about the amazing support for this project found in the Cowichan Valley. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Health Minister Adrian Dix talks to the crowd about the amazing support for this project found in the Cowichan Valley. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Duncan Deputy Mayor Bob Brooke offers the City’s congratulations on arriving at the sod-turning stage of the long-awaited project. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Cowichan Tribes Tribes Coun. Debra Toporowski on behalf of Chief Seymour joins those thanking everyone involved for all the work that has gone into the Hospice House project, . (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Emcee and task force chair Christa Fox finds it hard for a moment to express the thanks in her overflowing heart. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Island Health board chair Leah Hollins says the need for hospice facilities is so great and the Valley is a leader in getting this project going. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
A large crowd of dignitaries gather to celebrate the sod-turning at Cowichan Hospice House. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
The Tzinquaw Dancers, backed by their powerful singers and drummers, add a note of solemn ceremony to the event. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Everyone was delighted to be part of the joyful day. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)
The sod-turning for Cowichan Hospice House has been a long time coming but is all the more welcome for that. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)
Health Minister Adrian Dix leads the shovel brigade at the sod turning. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)
Volunteers are all ready to hand out the shovels for the sod turning. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)
Specially decorated shovels are lined up, ready for the ceremony. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)
Island Health’s Leah Hollins makes a statement about Hospice House. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)
The Tzinquaw Dancers perform the Victory Dance. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)
The famed Tzinquaw Dancers joined the event, presenting their culture for the big crowd. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)
A very large crowd enjoyed watching the ceremony. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)
Christa Fox opens the event. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)
Cookies were available to add to the celebration. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)
Special cookies were a welcome treat. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)
Many volunteers worked hard to get Hospice House to this point. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)
Luckily, the sun shone on the sod-turning day. (Warren Goulding/ Citizen)

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.

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