Preliminary committee struck to investigate seniors facility for Lake

The most recent public meeting about a future long-term care facility for seniors in Lake Cowichan has the town’s mayor feeling optimistic

The most recent public meeting about a future long-term care facility for seniors in Lake Cowichan has the town’s mayor feeling optimistic about the potential project.

“About 35 people turned out,” said mayor Ross Forrest. “It was very encouraging.”

This meeting, held Jan. 21 at town hall, was called due to low attendance at a similar public forum held in December. The mayor and council shared their desire for Lake Cowichan to eventually have a long-term care facility for seniors at the lake, although all relevant details have yet to be determined.

“It was just preliminary, just gauging interest in the community. And certainly it is quite evident there’s interest,” said Forrest of the meeting.

Questions were posed by those in attendance, such as what the facility will look like, how many beds will it contain and where will it be located. All of those details will be decided by a committee and when Forrest asked who would be interested in sitting on such a committee, almost every hand in the room was raised.

Consequently, an interim committee was formed, tasked with determining the structure and composition of the final committee. Led by Ross Fitzgerald, the interim committee members are: Tim McGonigle, Katie Berg, Ted Gamble, David Lowther and Marg McGillis.

McGonigle represents town council on the this newly formed interim committee.

“It was agreed that this shouldn’t be a council-run initiative. It’s important this is the public. But council does want to have involvement, and obviously we’re going to have a big say in a lot of the matter,” said Forrest.

According to Forrest, the interim committee will meet once or twice to determine how the final committee will operate. Then it will bring in the community at large and set about selecting its members.

“It will take the whole community working together to make something like this happen,” said Forrest.

“It does have to be a total buy-in because at some point there’s going to be fundraising and grant applications and everything else. And to convince other levels of government and Island Health, it’s really going to take the support of the whole community.”