Thursday, June 13, 2024

Shawnigan Lake camp for kids with disabilities to undergo massive $25 million transformation


Shawnigan Lake’s Easter Seals Camp will soon be able to provide more space and access to children, youths and even adults with disabilities thanks to some provincial funding and an impressive amount of donations. 

Premier David Eby made the trek to the camp along with Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development to make the announcement that the province would commit $7 million to the project.

“Going to camp is a fun-filled and life-changing experience that all children should have the opportunity to enjoy,” said Premier Eby. “Yet many camps aren’t accessible for children with disabilities, and those that are fill up fast.” 

“That’s why we’re helping Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan update and expand its facilities. This will allow more children to experience the many benefits of camp while giving their families and caregivers the time they need to recharge their batteries.”

Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan has been in operation for more than 50 years helping over 200 youths and adults with equipment, programs and services designed specifically for their needs.

The camp has become renowned for the experiences it provides for disabled British Columbians and the way it encourages development in life skills, self-confidence and independence.

The scope of the project is to turn the seasonal operation at Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan into North America’s first purpose built , year-round retreat for those with disabilities. 

The total budget for the project is estimated at $25 million, which the $7 million in provincial funds will contribute significantly to. 

The remaining $18 million will be attained through primarily private donations. 

The camp will build 10 new two-bedroom cabins with kitchenettes, a hotel style dormitory, a large community hall with a gym and an in-ground pool. 

All these amenities will be made accessible and designed for people with visible and invisible disabilities.

“I’m so excited to embark on this bold plan for the revitalization of Camp Shawnigan and I am so grateful to the Ministry of Children and Family Development for the incredible support,” said Lisa Beck, president and CEO of Easter Seals British Columbia. 

“This grant will allow us to push the boundaries of universal and inclusive design and improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of individuals living with disabilities.” 

“It will also enable the growth and future sustainability of our programs year round, while allowing us to offer services to other organizations, the corporate community and the community at large,” Beck added. 

Construction on Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan is expected to begin in the summer of 2025 and it should be able to be completed by 2026, if all goes according to plan. 

Curtis Blandy

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