Lodge auxiliary deems sell-off a success

The Cowichan Lodge Auxiliary wants concerned Cowichanians to know members aren’t tossing donated lodge furniture and photographs into the trash.

A weekend garage sale at the lodge led to rumblings about what the Vancouver Island Health Authority is doing with items at the old seniors facility now slated for mental health care.

But VIHA and the Cowichan Lodge Auxiliary are squelching reports items donated by the auxiliary to the lodge were to be removed and sold, sent to be used Victoria or Nanaimo — or thrown in the nearest dump.

“There was never any statement made that everything had to be removed,” Anya Nimmon, VIHA communications advisor, confirmed on Tuesday. “Rather we did our best to provide support and communication to the auxiliary around their sale.”

That sale — dubbed the auxiliary’s Valentine’s Tea — happened Feb. 12.

“It was agreed that if there were any items that could be re-donated or re-circulated in the community that could be done, or sold at the Valentine’s sale,” Nimmon said.

“VIHA staff had worked with the auxiliary prior to the sale, reviewing some of the items to be sold, including some of the items they donated.”

Auxiliary president Joan Hayden-Luck said the event was a success, with the sale raising more than $2,000.

“We are going to use it for the two areas (of Cowichan Lodge) that are not going to be used by mental health, in hopes that it will be used for the citizens of the Cowichan Valley,” Hayden-Luck explained.

VIHA has yet to announce what the lodge’s remaining space will be used for.

“If it’s not (space for Cowichan seniors), we will donate to seniors who are in need of some kind of health care,” added Hayden-Luck. “It’ll go to seniors, because it is our mandate to look after seniors.”

The auxiliary president added all available photos at the lodge were picked up by family members, with some historic images remaining with the auxiliary to go up at the lodge when it reopens.

“It was very emotional for a lot of people, especially looking through the albums of photos we had,” Hayden-Luck added.

”I’m delighted so many people came and were interested. It was a very nice afternoon and I was really thrilled so many people came.”

Nimmon, meanwhile, said VIHA still has to sort through remaining items at the lodge.

“Some will be used if possible, some will be stored and some will remain,” she said. “The hospital beds, for example, will be kept on site — stored — for disaster planning.”

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