Major fundraising campaign en route for L'Arche Comox Valley

L'Arche Comox Valley board chair Tony Reynolds shows off some promotional literature promoting a fundraising campaign to build a second home in the comox Valley for L'Arche clients.
— image credit: Scott Stanfield

L'Arche Comox Valley has nearly reached the 40-per-cent mark of its public fundraising campaign, launched Friday at the Prime Chophouse in Courtenay.

Individual donors have committed $300,000 towards the campaign target of $800,000, which will be used to construct a second home in the city for L'Arche clients.

The entire project will cost an estimated $1.4 million. The balance can be covered through a mortgage. The hope is to break ground early in 2015, with occupancy about a year later.

The house will be located at 1465 Grieve Ave. by Courtenay Elementary School. Board members and staff have received positive feedback from neighbouring property owners.

"We believe that this will be a wonderful addition to the neighbourhood," I Belong Campaign honorary chair Murray Presley said Friday.

The 8,200-square-foot, two-storey house will double as an activity centre. There will be living spaces for nine clients who are developmentally disabled but who can live semi-independently. Clients and workers will co-habitate in a family-like setting.

Campaign co-chair Robert Mulrooney anticipates the facility will be a "community asset."

The non-profit charity is one of 29 L'Arche communities in Canada, and one of only two in B.C. The other is in Vancouver.

"I think that speaks to the quality of this community. We look after our own," said campaign co-chair Dr. Paul Helpard, recalling an acquaintance who became a minister because of his experience volunteering for L'Arche while attending university. The man later started a L'Arche community in New Brunswick.

Comox Valley MLA Don McRae and Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula also shared a few words Friday.

"Many hours put in by many dedicated volunteers have brought us to this point today," said Jangula, recalling a conversation with L'Arche Comox Valley founder Lock Mawhinney. By the end of the conversation, Jangula had been convinced to join the L'Arche board.

The late Mawhinney initiated the charity in 2000 when he and other volunteers opened Jubilee House in Courtenay.

"My thanks to all of you who have stayed the course, have kept the vision alive and brought us to today," Jangula said. "I'm proud to have been a small part of ensuring Lock's legacy is perpetuated."

L'Arche also operates an outreach centre in downtown Courtenay, which will shut down when the new house is built.

Campaign contributions are tax deductible. To donate, visit


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