The proposed women’s addiction rehabilitation centre at the St. Joseph’s School property might have been a success, even though a similar effort didn’t work in the Lower Mainland.
However, it also might have turned into a social experiment gone wrong, with Chemainus residents left to bear the consequences. This is now a moot point since the project will not be going ahead, due to the expensive renovation costs associated with converting a school building to a residential one.
Since the inception of this project many residents have had time to re-think, to consider the ‘what-ifs’ and the thought that keeps coming to mind is, “What if the school property were turned into a Community and Arts Centre?” The location is ideal as it is centrally located in town and is surrounded by athletic fields, already owned by the District of North Cowichan.
The property is offered at a very reasonable price and renovations would be minimal as the occupancy type would remain the same, that of an ‘assembly’ building. As we do not have a Community and Arts Centre in Chemainus, this centre could be used by all age groups with the potential for a variety of activities, including reinstating the previous children’s day care program.
Some may say the Fuller Lake Arena is available, however it is not located locally, does not have a gymnasium and is used mainly for skating and hockey by all residents of North Cowichan.
The community of Saltair has already completed this process with the former Mount Brenton Elementary School. Perhaps we could learn from them and maybe it is time to see if our elected councillors of North Cowichan listen to this idea.