Letter: extreme weather shelter a Bowen community success story

To the editor:

It all started off about 14 months ago with an impromptu meeting of a group of concerned community members at the Caring Circle building. Their concern was for our “at risk” community members and their immediate shelter needs with cold weather imminent. That night, a temporary makeshift shelter was set up in the upper floor of the library, supplied on short notice, from people’s homes and monitored by a volunteer. This group was to become BEST (Bowen Emergency Shelter Team) and they would go on to spearhead and drive our permanent Extreme Weather Shelter for the less fortunate of our community.

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I am proud and excited to report that Bowen Island has an operational shelter as of last weekend. Many hands were involved in molding this facility which has been established in Collins Hall and administered - and at this time, staffed by the Lookout Health and Housing Society. What an incredible collaboration to make this challenging project happen. 

Huge thank-yous to BEST, without whose community caring, perseverance and ”keep their eye on the prize” attitude saw this project through to completion. To Colleen O’Neil and the Caring Circle Health and Wellness Society of Bowen Island, who worked tirelessly to co-ordinate the project. To the Lookout Health and Housing Society for taking on this sometimes challenging project and putting all the pieces together to protect our less fortunate. To the congregation and directors of the United Church whose passion and caring direction was able to overcome some initial setbacks and fulfill a community need at Collins Hall. And last, but not least, thanks to Jennifer McGowan, our emergency program coordinator, for assisting and facilitating this project from start to finish. You should all be very proud and know that the Bowen Island community is now a better place thanks to your endeavour. 

A good day for Bowen Island, a better day for our caring community.

Gary Ander, Mayor

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