Legion supports Snug Cove House
The Snug Cove House Society that plans to create a supportive island home for seniors received funding of $10,000 from Bowen’s Royal Canadian Legion #150. The vote by Legion members and their executive board on Tuesday came after what Legion vice-president Jason Zahara called “the longest discussion we’ve had in our meetings, but it’s about the most important thing happening on Bowen”.
The volunteer group planning the seniors’ residence was represented by its chair, Graham Ritchie, who was questioned in great detail about progress on the society’s mission, which is to put an end to the flow of island elders having to leave friends and neighbours behind to seek suitable supportive accommodation on the mainland.
Tim Hausch, the Legion’s treasurer, said, “[Snug Cove House] is basically a fantastic project that will provide Bowen Island with the means so that members of the community can age in place and don’t have to leave the community they have been part of.” Hausch personally knows seniors who are currently looking to sell their property and move off the island to get the care they need. “These people been here for years and have been active members of the community,” he said, adding that Snug Cove House would give islanders the option to stay.
“The Legion is delighted to contribute to the project and has supported Snug Cove House before,” Hausch said. He explained that the Legion is in a financially sound position, mostly thanks to the volunteers who, on an ongoing basis, support its day-to-day operation and special events. “Our cooks, bar staff and the people at the front door are all volunteers,” he said. “We are open six days a week. Without the volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to do everything we do.”
Since the community has supported the Legion, the non-profit organization is happy to give something back and support community initiatives, according to Hausch, who explained that the presentation by Ritchie convinced the Legion board that the Snug Cove House Society is a worthy recipient.
“Graham’s info was very detailed,” Hausch said. “It was impressive to see how much work the Snug Cove House board has put into the project to get it to this stage. For us, we’d like to see the money go to a place where we can see shovels in the ground. Even though the Snug Cove House isn’t at that stage yet, we see it as a great asset and we want to help move it forward.”
Ritchie thanked Bowen’s Branch 150 for its generous donation. The Legion has donated to Snug Cove House (formerly known as Abbeyfield House) three times in previous years, substantial amounts but not on the scale of Tuesday’s gift.
Ritchie sees it as an important donation, not just for its size, but for the message it sends to the community as a whole. “The project has been gestating for so long – 18 years in all – that donors have in recent years been reluctant to come forward. Snug Cove House hopes that will change,” he said.
Ritchie explained that the society purchased land on Miller Road in 2004 and envisioned selling half the land for affordable general housing, which in turn would provide half the construction funds for the seniors’ residence with a mortgage making up most of the other half.
Recently the building plans have been refined to adjust to the lower land prices and tighter mortgage requirements – the residence will now be built in two stages, starting with a 10-unit building with staff accommodation and central kitchen, dining and gathering areas.
Ritchie believes that the Legion’s support will galvanize the efforts toward making Snug Cove House a reality “now that the steady and financially responsible advance of the project has been recognized by such a key part of our community.”