The shovels are finally in the ground for the long-anticipated, new and expanded facility that the Clements Centre Society is building in the south end of the Cowichan Valley.
Society members and local officials were on hand on the morning of Sept. 21 for the official sod-turning for the approximately $990,000, 5,000 sq. ft. Clements Centre South on Princess Avenue in Cobble Hill, which is expected to be completed by the spring of 2021.
It will replace the smaller, aging and less accessible facility in a heritage church that the society has been using for years to deliver services to adults with disabilities in the Valley’s south end.
“We are thrilled and excited to open this new building in the spring,” Leslie Welin, the Clements Centre’s chairwoman of the board, told those who assembled at the site for the sod turning.
“We appreciate the support of the Cowichan Valley Regional District and [local businessmen] Gordon Smith, Greg Adams, Mark Mitchell and everyone else who are assisting with the project. We’ve been receiving a lot of donations, expertise and good will from the community in the construction of the facility, and we’re still looking for continued support for equipment and other contents that will be in the new building.”
The province announced it will back the project with $250,000 from the Community Gaming Grants program last year, and Welin said the rest of the funding for the building is coming from the sale of adjacent property to the new facility, and individuals and service clubs that have stepped up to assist with equipment and landscaping.
The Clements Centre Society is one of the largest not-for-profit societies in the Cowichan Valley, and delivers community-based programs to almost 200 adults in the region.
Programs include supported recreational activities, vocational training and a residential program to connect clients with suitable housing options.
The society also runs the Sundrops Centre for Child Development in Duncan that helps support children with developmental disabilities and their families.
The new Cobble Hill Family Centre will feature an open space for arts, crafts and education programs, sensory quiet rooms and a modern, accessible kitchen for cooking programs.
The facility will provide a safe and accessible space for the society’s clients in the Valley’s south end, which has a growing population and a need for more accessible day programs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our worlds’ upside down and, like most other charities at this time, it has been a challenging time for the society to get the funds and support it needs for the project,” Welin said.
“So it’s good to be getting the support we need to complete this project so far. The community has been great.”