Leslie Welin, chairwoman of the Clements Centre Society, shows Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson details of the new approximately $1-million facility that will deliver the society’s programs and services in the Valley’s south end when constructed. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Province steps up with $250,000 for new Clements Centre facility in South Cowichan

New building will replace aging, smaller one in Valley’s south end

Dianne Hinton hopes a new and expanded facility that the Clements Centre Society plans to construct in the south end of the Cowichan Valley will be big enough to allow the society to provide services for children in that area for the first time.

Hinton, the society’s CEO, said the approximately $1-million, 4,000 sq. ft. Clements Centre South on Princess Avenue in Cobble Hill will replace the smaller, aging and less accessible facility that the society has been using for years to deliver services to adults with disabilities in the Valley’s south end.

“At first, we were just looking to have a crosswalk put in place at our current building to make it more accessible, but we’re excited that the plan has expanded to this,” she said.

“We’re also very pleased that the province has decided to help us pay for the project.”

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The government announced it will back the project with $250,000 from the Community Gaming Grants program at a funding announcement at the site of the new facility on Dec. 11.

“Our government greatly values the work of organizations like the Clements Centre Society, which delivers such important support to community members and their families,” said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo, on behalf of Selina Robinson, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, at the event.

“These cooking, arts and educational programs help people with developmental disabilities learn new life skills and enjoy a home away from home. We are pleased to get behind this project, to help increase access to terrific programs that benefit the whole community.”

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.

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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.

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The larger new facility in the south end of the Valley will feature an open space for arts, crafts and education programs, sensory quiet rooms and a modern, accessible kitchen for cooking programs.

Leslie Welin, the society’s chairwoman of the board, said that with the government’s funding announcement, approximately $600,000 has been raised so far for the new facility, and she hopes the community will continue to assist in its efforts to raise the rest of the money.

“Today’s funding announcement means that folks who live with diverse abilities and their families will have a new and welcoming place to maximize their skills, gain independence and contribute to the community where they live, work and play,” she said.

“Having a facility close to home is crucial to the well-being of the people we serve and their families. Once built, we are so pleased that the community will have access to some of the spaces. It will be a real community asset.”

The Clements Centre Society is one of 63 not-for-profits receiving a total of $5 million in capital project grants through the province’s Community Gaming Grants program in 2019.

The capital project category was launched in fall 2017, enabling not-for-profit organizations to buy equipment and make renovations essential to their operations.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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