Volunteers worked through the day on Dec. 14 to prepare the Cowichan Valley’s new winter-weather women’s shelter for its scheduled opening on Dec. 20.
Debbie Berg, executive director of the Cowichan Women Against Violence Society that will run the shelter, referred to the clean-up day as a “shelter-raising”, much like the traditional barn-raisings where the community would come together to help out.
She said there was much to clean up at the shelter, located at 2003 University Way besides Wendy’s House, and showers are to be put in during the coming week.
But Berg said the Cowichan Valley School District, which owns the building, has kept the facility well maintained, so it’s structurally sound with good plumbing and electrical systems.
“We have at least 10 people working hard here today, so we’re making good progress,” she said as she hauled on rubber cleaning gloves.
“We want to have the shelter ready by the time of our open house, which is scheduled for Dec. 17. We have good staff for the shelter hired already and they are excited and ready to go.”
The shelter was given a green light to open by council in the Municipality of North Cowichan after a packed public hearing on the issue earlier this month.
Other proposed locations for an emergency shelter for women in the area, including an old school building on Cairnsmore Street and the old Charles Hoey School in Duncan, had been rejected by the City of Duncan’s previous council, largely due to protests from neighbours.
Berg said lots of supplies are needed for the shelter, including blankets, warm and waterproof coats, socks and underwear, to name just a few.
She said there’s a long list of needed items on the society’s website, which can be found at www.cwav.org.
“Donors can bring their items to the society’s headquarters at 246 Evans St.,” she said.