This week, almost one year to the date of the public launch of the I Belong! campaign, MLA Don McRae announced that the BC Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development is coming alongside with a contribution of $250,000 to the project.
McRae was present to support the public launch in 2014 and was very pleased to make this tangible expression of government support one year later. The success of the campaign so far is a tribute to the many individuals, organizations and businesses that have committed to the vision of this project.
“I just want to acknowledge the hard work by the community, stepping up and committing to fund this cause, and I am just really proud that the provincial government can be a part of such a great legacy for the Comox Valley,” said McRae Wednesday morning.
“A little bit of work was on my part, but the vast majority of work was by the committee, the citizens who have committed to fundraise the remainder of those dollars. I just can’t say enough. Without that commitment, to make sure that we as a community are making this happen, this would not have happened as well. I want to say thank you to the community of the Comox Valley for stepping up like you’ve never stepped up before. You’ll leave a lasting legacy, not just for one generation but many generations.”
The campaign chairs, donors and many I Belong! supporters were at the Prime Chophouse when McRae made the announcement. Campaign chairs Murray Presley, Paul Helpard and Robert Mulrooney were among those who applauded the announcement.
Presley praised McRae’s efforts for securing the $250,000, which “makes a real difference to our campaign.
“It means we’re going to be able to go into the ground as soon as we can. (But) It doesn’t mean that our fundraising has stopped. Some of that money that we have, that $620,000, is actually in pledges.”
Also present Wednesday was L’Arche Comox Valley executive director Christine Monier, who was thrilled with the boost to the campaign which has now reached its ‘go-ahead’ goal, but noted there will not be any shovels in the ground yet. The entire project cost is $1.7 million.
The $800,000 amount raised to date includes all future pledged contributions, yet to come from deferred payments.
“We are so excited to see the government come alongside like this — it really validates what the community has said, that we want to see everyone who lives in our community participating fully in its life,” Monier said. “So now we are entering Phase Two of our campaign, where we start to look at sending work to tender, but also at how we want our facility to reflect our commitment to the environment, how it will be furnished and how we can optimize our fiscal responsibility to be as debt-free as possible when we finish.”
The new facility will be a centre for day-time programming but also include six residential units — a key element in a community so desperately in need of affordable housing.
“Providing affordable, well-maintained and supported spaces for adults who can live independently but want or need the security of informal community — this is of huge importance,” Monier said. “This facility will be so much more than a community space — for many it will be home.”