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BC Housing, Mental Health Society pick name for new supportive housing facility

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As construction continues on Campbell River’s new supportive housing project, the facility now has a name – Q’waxsem Place.

BC Housing and the Vancouver Island Mental Health Society confirmed the name during the City’s latest council meeting.

Q’waxsem means Dogwood Tree in the Laichwiltach language. It not only reflects the 580 Dogwood Street location, but also the tree’s medicinal purposes for treating headaches and fatigue.

Input from future residents is BC Housing’s preferred method of naming, so those currently residing at the Rose Bowl bridge housing downtown had some input on the naming process.

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According to city manager Deborah Sargent, they’ll be the first to move into Q’waxsem Place. She says they’re “very excited” to move into their new homes.

Installation of the pre-fab modular units began back in October, and the facility will see a total of 50 self-contained units. It’s set to open its doors in mid-February.

Q’waxsem Place will be geared to those experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, with the Mental Health Society on board to manage the facility. It will also offer support services to residents.

Sargent says developers chose the vacant lot at 580 Dogwood because of its proximity to shops, and because it’s on a major bus route. She says a bus goes by every 20 minutes.

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There’s been a total of 160 applications received for the 50 units, and the City says a vast majority of the applicants are locals, adding that an access and assessment committee will determine who’s best suited to this type of housing.

Site works, like landscaping, will be completed sometime in the spring after people move in. The City says its responsibilities for contributions to off-site servicing are on schedule and under budget, with that budget capped at $455,000.

According to Sargent, the next step is to develop a community advisory committee. She says their purpose will be to help find opportunities and resolve any concerns about the building operations.

“There’s going to be approximately ten members for the committee, including a neighbourhood representative. They’re going to play a key role in the success of Q’waxsem Place,” adds Sargent.

Read the City’s latest report here.

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