L'Arche Comox Valley beginning fundraising campaign

L'Arche Comox Valley is fundraising to build a house at this Grieve Avenue property. From left: Donald Taylor, Gary Scarvarda, Peter van Kessel, L'Arche executive director Christine Monier, Joe Lacourse and I Belong Campaign honourary chair Murray Presley.
— image credit: Scott Stanfield

Educational and social supports are in place for children with developmental disabilities. But what happens when these children become adults?

The question is the raison d'être of L'Arche Comox Valley, which is raising money to construct a second home for clients in Courtenay.

The house will be located at 1465 Grieve Ave. near Courtenay Elementary School.

The non-profit charity, one of 29 L'Arche communities in Canada, started in 2000 when Lock Mawhinney and a group of volunteers opened Jubilee House, where clients and workers co-habitate in a family-like setting. While clients don't work for a living, they can engage in volunteer work. Rachel Scott, for instance, volunteers at the Cumberland Seniors' Centre.

L'Arche also operates an outreach centre in downtown Courtenay, which will shut down when the new two-storey house/activity centre is built. One level will contain activity rooms, a kitchen and offices. The other level will consist of two one-bedroom units, a pair of two-bedroom units and a studio.

The hope is to break ground late-2014 or early-2015, with occupancy about a year later.

The entire project will cost an estimated $1.45 million. Over the next year, the objective of the I Belong campaign is to raise $800,000 through financial donations and gifts in-kind. The balance can be covered through a mortgage.

"We have a whack of money to raise," board chair Tony Reynolds said.

L'Arche hosts a public campaign launch this Friday, April 4, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Prime Chophouse. There will be a PowerPoint presentation and words from various dignitaries.

To donate, visit


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