Southgate Villa, which house the Cook Street Village Activity Centre on the ground floor, was touted as a potential location for enhanced health and wellness services in a development proposal rejected Nov. 26 by city council. One proponent hopes the idea of bringing additional services to the village moves forward. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

Wellness centre proponent optimistic, despite Victoria council rejecting project

Preventative health services much in demand in Cook Street Village, says Vanessa Hammond

The creation of more health and wellness services in Cook Street Village under an agreement between Aragon Properties and the City of Victoria won’t happen, with council narrowly voting down the developer’s proposal for Cook and Pendergast streets.

But Vanessa Hammond, chair of the Victoria Health Co-operative and the Creating Community Wellness Society, remains optimistic such services will still come to the village.

The acquisition of space in Southgate Villa, a residential building in which the ground floor space off Cook is home to the Cook Street Village Activity Centre, was part of Aragon’s proposal. The society envisioned the space hosting such activities as meditation, acupuncture, reiki and other non-medical services, the demand for which is strong, Hammond says.

“We’ve been collecting a list of people who want more services and they’re 95 per cent in Cook Street Village,” she says, adding they now have about 400 names.

Hammond is determined to keep pressing the issue.

The society wrote to mayor and council to express its disappointment after the development proposal was defeated in a 4-4 tie vote. At the same time, the elected officials were asked for suggestions on how to bring more community health and wellness services to the village.

One councillor who voted against the proposal recommended asking Mayor Lisa Helps, who supported it, to craft a motion asking staff to look into the matter in the new year.

“I’m the eternal optimist, I’m hoping that the topic might be recalled once we have a full city council,” Hammond says.

On Dec. 12 Victoria residents vote for the councillor position vacated by Laurel Collins, who successfully ran for Victoria MP in 2019.

RELATED STORY: Candidates finalized for Victoria byelection

All of the candidates for the vacated position have been sent questions relating to the issue, Hammond says, including asking how they would have voted on the Aragon proposal.

In general, Hammond says, comments she has so far received on all fronts have been positive and helpful.

“I think there is a general community enthusiasm for this, but it’s going to continue to need a lot of effort. We’re always looking for good ideas.”

Anyone with suggestions about how or where to locate health and wellness services in the village are asked to call Hammond at 250-415-9272 or send an email to vichealthcoop@gmail.com.


 

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