Seniors Keeping Young has been selected to take over the vacant space in the Blue Cottage.
The approximately 300-square foot room in the Cardena Drive building behind the Library had previously been used by the Caring Circle. With that organization transforming into a new venture, the space became available for a new use. The municipality put out a call earlier this summer asking for groups interested in moving in.
Three organizations responded with their plans, including Seniors Keeping Young (SKY) who have been searching for a place to establish a Drop-In Centre for seniors. The centre would be a place for seniors to meet each other, as well as participate in group activities in a dedicated location. Currently SKY offers gatherings at various locations including the Library and Bowen Court.
The other two applications were from the Friends of Bowen Island Library Society (FOBILS) and Theatre on the Isle (TOTI). Both of the groups were looking to use the area as storage space, for books and costumes respectively. They also agreed to share the space, as there is enough room for all their materials.
“It comes down to a very difficult decision for council to have to make,” said Kristen Watson, chief financial officer, at the Oct. 10 council meeting. “All three of the organizations are definitely worthy, volunteer-driven organizations.”
Watson recommended that the space is best used by people, which is what SKY proposed. “It’s very centrally located (in Snug Cove) and very accessible by transit for people who don’t have access to cars… It really comes down to a choice between providing storage space for some community organizations versus expanding services to seniors and creating that space for a Drop-In Centre,” said the CFO.
Council noted it was a difficult decision, but ultimately agreed with Watson. “I appreciate that all three of these organizations are valuable to the community and could use this space. Basically we have two applications for storage and one application for actual use that’s going to involve a lot of people,” said Coun. Tim Wake.
“As much as I desperately want storage for both of those other organizations, I think that little Blue Cottage should be filled with people. I think it’s absolutely perfect for that,” said Coun. Judith Gedye, though added the municipality should look into storage options for FOBILS and TOTI.
“With seniors being a growing population, and with the infrastructure that’s connected to that space, as well as just having it populated, is probably the best use of the Blue Cottage,” added Mayor Andrew Leonard.