Getting it built, community centre project

Sooke Region Community Health Initiative (CHI) hosting input meetings

Over the next few weeks, the Sooke Region CHI is engaging residents to provide input on what type of community centre building is needed in Sooke.

A few groups have actively demonstrated a need for space and services, providing CHI with reports and information that will aid the process. The strongest voice is coming from the Sooke Senior’s Drop-In Society, who have created a Visioning Document in their search for a permanent home. Some of their top priorities include activity and office space, a commercial kitchen, and ample accessible parking in a central location.

The CHI has heard input from groups and individuals from the Sooke Region, which has sparked a lot of discussion around what is missing. All-purpose rooms, art creation and gallery space, meeting space, drop-in recreation space, and storage space are among the top concerns. Although finding a location will require more information on the required square footage, cost, etc., almost all citizens believe a community centre should be in the Sooke core, with the John Phillips region being the most popular choice by far. Additionally, it is possible that a new community centre is built alongside the new library.

There is also talk about social enterprise opportunities, especially where youth are concerned. Creating opportunities for skill development in local youth and special needs groups, along with the commission of art sales and facility rentals were noted as the top potential avenues of generating funds once a community centre is built.

Youth participating in the discussion were very keen on sharing space and resources. They gave a noteworthy example of the Purple Thistle Arts Collective in Burnaby, which allows artists of all kinds to bring and use supplies for silk screening, painting, photography, bicycle building and more, in a drop-in setting.

The community has also identified a number of potential partners and the Sooke CHI will be contacting as many local groups and potential stakeholders as possible to gather more information. In addition, they are hosting a community forum with refreshments on Saturday, June 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Edward Milne community school. For more information or to provide input, email sookeregionchi@yahoo.ca or join the conversation at www.sookeregionresources.com

Submitted by the Sooke Region CHI