By Abigail Popple, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG 

Robson Valley Community Services (RVCS) is preparing to renovate its property at 1444 5th Avenue (the old Canoe Mountain restaurant) in Valemount, including the renovation of an old cabin on the property.

The organization plans on moving its staff and services from a rental space at 99 Gorse Street onto the 5th avenue site, according to Donalda Beeson, Co-Executive Director and Manager of Therapeutic Services & Quality Assurance at RVCS. This transfer has been years in the making, she said.

“We started purchase of the property at 1444 5th Ave in 2021 … to provide more centralized services, and invest resources into a property we can develop rather than continue to pay increased rent at the Village owned community services building at 99 Gorse Street, where we’ve been for a few decades,” Beeson wrote in an email to The Goat. 

However, RVCS was unable to begin renovating the property until 2023, when they completed the purchase using money from their reserves and the Columbia Basin Trust and Land Acquisition Grant, she added.

Two subsequent grants from Columbia Basin Trust – the Food Access and Recovery Program, and the Non-Profit Sustainability Program – allowed RVCS to install a community kitchen at the 5th Avenue property and upgrade the building’s energy system, according to Beeson. 

However, the property needs further renovation to provide an adequate working space for RVCS staff, many of whom are still working out of 99 Gorse Street. To this end, the organization opened a contract opportunity on BC Bid – the Province-run site where public-sector organizations can solicit goods, services, and construction – to install foundation and replace two walls in the cabin on 5th Avenue.

“The request for bids … is to replace the front left portion of the building – which is a decrepit period cabin with no supporting foundation or footing – with which the rest of the building was built around,” Beeson said. “This was the recommendation of the engineering assessment of the building. RVCS will be covering the rest from our investments and grants received that support renovation costs.”

Plans for the property don’t end there, though. According to Beeson, funding from a number of organizations – Women’s Shelters Canada, United Way, the Ministry of Public Safety, and Columbia Basin Trust – are being put to use to establish a community garden, add space to the childcare center, and create new food security opportunities, among other initiatives. RVCS also has pending grant applications to fund further improvements, she added.

“These spaces (at the 5th Avenue property) would be open for community use … in addition to expanding our services and program offerings to the rest of our clients and community,” Beeson said.

The caption in a previous edition article, “Valemount RVCS moving services to 5th Avenue,” incorrectly stated that the new building will provide a centralized space for childcare. In fact, childcare is a standalone service, provided across the street from 1444 5th Avenue. The building referenced in the article is intended to “augment additional space for play and learning for Roots of Life Childcare Center,” but will not be the site of childcare services. The Goat regrets this error.