This day - this event - this moment, has been a long time coming and I am so glad we are here together to share it. The vision for this Shelter started with Bill Reid in 2009.
It was back then when Bill and small group of people in the community noted that there were people who were homeless and really struggling in Cloverdale. Bill felt strongly that these folks were our neighbours. They needed our help, and that help should be right here, in the community where they live. He called on all of us to step-up and respond to the challenge.
And, that is one of the things that is so special about this Shelter. The collaboration it took, the community support, the grass roots movement. This was not your typical scenario where we want to build a Shelter and the community responds with NIMBY (not in my backyard) or, sometimes even BANANA (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything).
This is how it should be. It is about neighbours supporting neighbours and people and collaboration, at its best.
And, as we worked together - we learned a lot. Personally, I learned more than I ever thought possible about dirt. Silt, clay, sand, glacial till, gravel, structure, drainage, how much we needed to compact in order to stabilize the site, and all of the complexities of that. We moved dirt out. We moved dirt in. We waited for dirt to settle.
And, we worried - Was it raining enough? Was it raining too much? Was it sunny enough? Was it too dry and hot? Did we need more dirt? Did we need less? Where would we ship the dirt? How much would it cost? This was the Goldilocks of foundation building.
The process for getting here wasn’t perfect. It never is. But, it’s consistent with how we practice our value of excellence. We are not trying for perfect. But, we never stop trying to do more, to do better. And, that’s how together - we got here.
And, the inspiration for that attitude - that value - that drive, is inspired by our clients, including those who now call Bill Reid Place, “home”.
We are inspired by their courage - to face adversity, to ask for support, and - their tenacity at working towards a better life for themselves and their families.
And, what a place to call, “home” - it’s peaceful and tranquil.
People have the literal and figurative space to calm their minds - to think, to reflect, and - to regain their health. Bill Reid Place is a uniquely accepting Shelter, accommodating couples and being pet-friendly. And, we did this together.
Christine Mohr, Executive Director
Bill Reid, “Mr. Cloverdale” (or “Mr. Surrey”) as he was widely known, was a man who “got things done,” according to his admirers in the business community and in both municipal and provincial government. Mr. Reid passed away in May, 2013 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was a former MLA, tourism minister, Executive Director of the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association and well-regarded community leader.
Mr. Reid embraced the problem of homelessness in Cloverdale, bringing the community together ten years ago to work cooperatively on a solution and ultimately inviting Options Community Services Society to open the original 10-bed shelter in an old Cloverdale farm house.