By Kelly Greenwell

The large crane and construction crews have been busy on The Summit at Quadra Village project. The Summit will be one of the largest developments in Hillside-Quadra and will be home for 320 residents dealing with dementia and other complex care issues. The facility will also provide a day program for individuals with complex care issues who can remain at home. The Summit is a replacement facility for Oak Bay Lodge and will likely open in late 2019 or early 2020.

A number of neighbourhood engagement sessions have informed the development of the site. Neighbourhood residents participated in information and feedback sessions with staff from the Capital Regional Hospital District and Island Health. In addition, the Hillside-Quadra Healthy Neighbourhood Group hosted engagement sessions and meetings with local citizens to identify key priorities for the concept of “common spaces” on The Summit at Quadra Village site. These common spaces were seen to go some way to compensating for the fact that the facility is being built on the former Blanshard Elementary School fields – a space that was accessible to the public.

The Hillside-Quadra Healthy Neighbourhood Working Group, in consultation with The Summit at Quadra Village project team have identified allotment gardens as a priority for a 5000 square feet area of the site. This summer, the groundwork to develop a plan for presentation to Island Health – and to share with neighbourhood residents for feedback – got underway. Given the number of people in the neighbourhood interested in healthy, locally grown food, and the number of folks challenged by food security issues, it seems like the creation of allotment gardens is long overdue.

Several preliminary plans have been discussed and passed back and forth between The Summit project staff and the Healthy Neighbourhood Working Group members. A version of the most recent plan is shown above.

Essentially, the current plan involves creating garden plots (four different sizes) surrounding a gathering area in the middle of the site. The gathering area, accessed by a main entrance, would be covered (but not enclosed), and would be adjacent to a tool shed. Four sizes of garden plots are anticipated: mobility access plots; individual plots; family plots; and community plots. All of plots would be protected from deer by a perimeter deer fence. A range of 25 to 33 plots is projected at this time. A hardscape pathway would lead to the gathering area and the mobility access plots.

Management of the garden plots would be facilitated by the Volunteer Garden Coordinator at the Quadra Village Community Centre, with the bulk of the work to maintain the site being undertaken by allotment gardeners. Guidelines are under development, with an eye to implementing the allotment garden project in 2019 (if all goes well). Island Health (as the operator of The Summit facility) will have to approve the final plans.

Consensus has not been reached so far on the other two major common spaces intended for The Summit. Ideas brought forward by the Healthy Neighbourhood Working Group, such as a basketball/ball hockey court and a water park, have not yet been agreed to The Summit project staff. As well, it has been made clear that other funding (such as grants) would be needed to implement anything that is not part of the standard landscape budget for The Summit.

Further updates on the common spaces will be provided through the Hillside-Quadra News and neighbourhood social media as conversations continue and as we learn more.

There is an opportunity here for the creation of grounds at the facility that will benefit patients, their families, and the neighbourhood. But this likely won’t happen without involvement from Hillside-Quadra residents, as health care centres are often planned only with direct care provision in mind.

Your feedback on the allotment gardens for The Summit at Quadra Village is key to the project’s success. If you have any feedback about the plans outlined in this article or would like to give feedback about the allotment project as it unfolds, please contact kelly@quadravillagecc.com.

The Healthy Neighbourhood Working Group would like to ensure that the ideas of neighbourhood residents are well represented in the allotment garden plan that is ultimately developed. Here’s to more healthy, neighbourhood-grown food in our future!

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