The Cowichan Station Area Association, which operates the HUB at Cowichan Station, is currently in talks with the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia to take over management of the disused St. Andrew’s Church, Hall and Cemetery in Cowichan Station.
“While nothing has yet been finalized between CSAA and the Anglican Diocese to take over the management of St. Andrew’s Cowichan Station, we wanted to inform the community of this possibility and gather support in the hope that this will come to fruition. explained CSAA’s Melanie Watson. “We will be hosting a community consultation on February 13 via Zoom to gather support and ideas from the local community.”
A columbarium area with local families still having active plots on the property, CSAA hopes to take over maintenance and management of the cemetery from the Anglican Diocese. As for the century-old church, the first objective would be to ensure that it is safe to use.
“It needs a new roof and gutters, upgrades to the electrical system, heating, insulation and a good cleaning, among other things. The mice went to church in the absence of the community,” Watson explained. “We would like it to be used as an inclusive, non-denominational space for the community, accessible to individuals and groups to come together. A place for weddings and funerals or a quiet place for contemplation. A possible place of understanding and reconciliation between the cultures of the settlers and the First Nations.
“We also want to hear from the local community and First Nations on what they are considering, which is why we are hosting the community consultation on Zoom on February 13.”
Watson also noted that the church hall “also needed a lot of repairs”.
The estimated cost for essential improvements to the church and hall is around $250,000 and CSAA certainly doesn’t have that kind of money.
“The diocese said they were ready to transfer it as soon as possible to the community through the CSAA for a small fee (with a cemetery around, they said it was not a salable property). However, we expect to accept their offer based on their decision to assist CSAA with funding to start the project,” Watson said.
Without the help of the diocese, the CSAA cannot support the project because the association has a zero debt policy.
“We will also rely on rental income and grants to maintain it. However, the most important part of the funding equation is community support, which can take the form of helping by lending your time and skills, physical labor, fundraising, monetary support, or any other how someone might want to get involved.
The February 13 meeting starts at 4:30 p.m. To register your interest and receive the Zoom link, an email can be sent to [email protected]