The Cowichan Tribes’ gymnasium at 5574 River Road is now operating as an extreme weather shelter. (Submitted photo)

The Cowichan Tribes’ gymnasium at 5574 River Road is now operating as an extreme weather shelter. (Submitted photo)

New extreme weather shelter opens on River Road in Duncan

New facility should relieve some pressure on Warmland House

A new extreme weather shelter has opened in the Cowichan Tribes’ gymnasium at 5574 River Rd. in Duncan.

Funded by BC Housing and operated by the Cowichan branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association and Cowichan Tribes, the shelter will open on Jan. 22.

The new shelter is expected to alleviate some of the pressure on Warmland House, which will continue to operate on Lewis Street.


The new shelter will be operated and staffed by the CMHA and will be able to accommodate up to 30 people each night.

“For so many, homelessness is not a choice but working together in the spirit of caring and kindness is,” said CMHA executive director Lise Haddock.

“As the cold weather approaches, it’s wonderful to know that people will be warm, safe and secure. Thank you Cowichan Nation for opening the doors of your respected house Si’em lelum to provide much needed shelter.”

A typical stay at an emergency shelter includes a bed with linens, hot meals, showers and access to laundry and support services.

Stays may range from one night to longer, depending on client needs.

The new shelter is open to anyone that needs a warm, dry place to sleep.

It will be open from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. each day and is expected to remain open until spring when the weather improves.

Marnie Elliott, Ts’ewulhtun Health Centre’s associate health director, said “Nuts’amaat shqwaluwun”, (One Mind, One Heart), is the basis of how the shelter will operate.

“It is an honour to share our space at the Si’em lelum Gymnasium in partnership with CMHA to provide a safe, warm environment for our community,” she said.

“I believe that it’s in collaborations like this that when we work together, we are not walking alone. I am thankful for the many minds and hearts that have come together to also walk with our community on their healing journey.”

People who stay at emergency shelters can be diverse, with a range of needs and abilities.

Staff will require appropriate behaviour at the shelter, but the facility will reduce barriers to ensure the most vulnerable people are brought inside and connected to support services.

“The CMHA-CVB looks forward to providing even more shelter opportunities for some of our community’s most vulnerable persons,” Haddock said.

“We thank Cowichan Tribes for supporting this project and we look forward to working together.”


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

Just Posted

This Earth Day, Cowichan Valley residents are being asked to clean up where they are. (File photo)
Cowichan ‘Clean Where You Are’ campaign starts on Earth Day

Take a bag, one glove, long tongs, and go pick up!

City of Duncan considering an average 3.51 per cent tax increase for 2021. (File photo)
Duncan considers average 3.51% tax increase for 2021

Homeowners would see a $43 increase over last year

North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh. (File photo)
North Cowichan postpones decision on cell tower placement

But cell tower policy may be developed soon

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/ screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read