If you listened closely last Saturday morning, you may have heard applause sprinkled across Bowen Island.
Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation Zoomed into islanders’ homes May 2 to announce that it is 75 per cent of the way to funding the entire community health centre project. This moves up the expected opening date by a year to mid-2023.
The foundation has raised 2.7 million so far in 2020 (including a $1 million pledge and a $1.5 million pledge). This brings the total fundraising up to $4.2 million in donations and pledges.
In the two days following the announcement, islanders donated a further $30,500 (including several pledges posted in the comments section of the Zoom meeting during the announcement).
“We’re just still coming down from cloud nine,” said BIHCF president Tim Rhodes Monday morning.
The foundation bought a Miller Rd. parcel of the Community Lands (beside the new fire hall site) last year. It intends to build a facility to include physicians, allied health professionals (physiotherapy, mental health and such), Vancouver Coastal Health programs (immunization, nutrition and early childhood clinics), health services (eg. hearing and vision testing), chronic disease management, the Caring Circle, a dental practice and Life Labs.
“The fact that we can move this whole thing up a year is absolutely thrilling,” said Rhodes. “We couldn’t have had a better gift.”
While the board had discussed putting off fundraising efforts during the pandemic, they decided to proceed with looking for the further $1.3 million needed to fund the project.
“It’s a tough time to ask people for money because some people are obviously unsure of their future income streams,” said Rhodes. “However, there are others that probably are comfortable enough to help us out.”
Rhodes added that the current donations are from about a hundred Bowen families.
While the million dollar donations came before the COVID-19 stalled life in B.C., a $200,000 donation came in after the pandemic struck.
“I think COVID has maybe really shone a spotlight on the need for something on Bowen,” said Rhodes––noting the need for more primary care and a place to seek primary care.
“[If] people could give according to their ability and like their health depends on it because to some extent it truly does on Bowen Island,” added Rhodes.