Behind the construction fence, the Columbia Valley Healing Garden is bursting into blossom. A waterfall feature runs down from the patio while roses perfume the air and a breeze ripples through the trees. Up on the patio, a pair of visitors chat on a bench.
“We call it a place of peace, and that’s what it will be for everybody,” said John Newton, chairperson for the Columbia House Enhancement Society (CHES). “Basically nature is the best healer. When you bring the people outside, you can really see them change.”
When the garden is finished in the spring of 2020, he believes it will be like “the Butchart Gardens of Invermere.”
The healing garden will be available for everyone from patients and their families to the general community. It is designed to accommodate every single visitor with special touches like a circular path intended to put Alzheimers and dementia patients at ease.
“There’s a couple of palliative beds here, and they’ll get the benefit of being able to feel the sunshine and to feel the wind and to hear the water,” he said.
Those in hospital beds and care facilities benefit from nature because it impacts their mental health and well-being, he said.
Johana Roggeman, who does marketing for CHES, said: “It gives them a spot to relax and feel better. You come back to your own soul.”
Mr. Newton envisions the $600,000 garden as a lively place with children running around while visiting their elderly relatives, residents coming outside for an hour a day, staff eating their lunch outdoors, and hospital patients and their families adding a little sun into their days.
A coin someone had tossed into the waterfall might also carry the same wishes for a place that brightens everyone’s lives, but in order to complete their vision organizers still need $150,000 to finish the garden and top it off with a labyrinth and a gazebo.
Helicopter Ball Drop
CHES will be holding a Helicopter Ball Drop lottery to raise funds. They will drop 2,000 numbered golf balls onto Copper Point Golf Club’s driving range on Friday, August 30th.
It’s $10 for each ticket representing a numbered ball. The eleven balls that land closest to the hole will earn their owners a prize ranging from a year’s supply of Kicking Horse Coffee to a glider ride.
The tickets are only $10 so that everyone can help bring the garden to life no matter their budget, said Mr. Newton.
Tickets are available at a CHES booth that will be outside the Bank of Montreal (BMO) on Saturdays and will also be for sale at Columbia House, Copper Point Golf Club and Huckleberries Family Restaurant.
The pilot might do “a couple loop de loops,” said Mr. Newton. “It’s quite a site to see 2,000 balls dropping out.”
For more information about the garden or to make a donation, visit www.cohogarden.org.