COVID-19 and the Bowen Health Centre

As we all grapple with the unprecedented change and uncertainty that has descended with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is deeply encouraging to hear the stories of cooperation and support emerging all over the world. Even as we increasingly stay physically apart, this crisis is drawing us closer together in ways we would never have imagined.

That spirit defines who we are as a Bowen community, and also defines our vision for a community health centre.  That vision is based on the principle of looking out for our neighbours as well as our own families, and working together as a community to protect our most precious gift: our health.  

The current crisis sharply highlights the safety net that our health centre represents. A community health centre is the focal point for a coordinated, team-based response to the changing health needs of the community. On Bowen, a health centre will provide additional primary care and other resources to ensure we have the on-island help we need to respond most effectively to the prospect of escalating health care demands at critical times like this.

The good news is that this badly-needed facility is moving closer to becoming a reality. We have had several strong expressions of financial support for the health centre in recent weeks, and today we are more confident than ever that we will reach our fundraising goal. 

Understandably, the current health crisis and social distancing have become significant factors in our effort. Our activities are being modulated to suit the evolving situation and will be less visible in the coming weeks. However, rest assured we are continuing to work behind the scenes to move this project forward as much as possible given the current reality. 

We have been touched by the people and groups on Bowen who have not only donated to the project, but have also been moved to help with their own fundraising initiatives. If you have an idea please contact us at We are hugely grateful of this support and would like to discuss how we can jointly coordinate any planning today and further down the road as the situation begins to normalize.

As always, we are continuing to accept pledges on our website at

On behalf of our Foundation, stay healthy, and thank you for your support.

As printed in the Bowen Island Undercurrent
March 26, 2020

Helping to make the health centre happen

Achieving the community’s dream of a health centre on Bowen grew closer in 2019. 
As with similar community health centres, the capital funds to build Bowen’s health centre must come from the people in our community. It simply won’t happen without everyone’s support. But last year, Bowen showed that we can – and will – rise to the challenge. 
Thanks to a generous private donor of $300,000 and the cooperation of the municipality, we secured a site for our health centre on Lot 3 of the Community lands. In addition, we finished the year with more than $1.5 million in donations and pledges towards our $5 million target. We continued to attract strong interest from primary care and allied health professionals, and from Vancouver Coastal Health, a key source of expanded health care programming for the community such as chronic disease management for diabetes, COPD, and asthma.
Along the way, we marched in the Bowfest parade to great enthusiasm and applause, held Town Hall meetings to answer your questions, and gratefully received the support of the Knick Knack Nook Auction, Bowen Island Logging Sports, and a special community fundraiser in Tunstall Bay.

Now we’re asking everyone on Bowen to make 2020 the year we reach our goal. We are looking for community ambassadors to host neighbourhood get-togethers. We are asking the businesses and merchants of Bowen to actively show their support.  Most important, we are asking you to invest in the health of your family, friends, and community. 

Help ensure that quality health care is just minutes away when you need it!

Call Colleen O’Neil at 604-250-1977 or email to join our effort. Or visit our website at and make your pledge today. 


August Health Centre Updates

Hope this summer has been memorable for you and your summer guests! Here’s a quick update on recent work to make our much-needed new health centre a reality on Bowen.

Health Centre Concept

Our new home is official: As reported in our last update, this spring a generous donor stepped forward with a $300,000 donation which allowed the Foundation to purchase land for our health centre on Lot 3 of the Community Lands. On July 22, Municipal Council accepted our Offer to Purchase and Agreement of Sale. This marks a major milestone in the journey towards better health care on Bowen and we are greatly indebted to the anonymous donor who made it happen. Look for the sign marking our site on Miller Road, across from the ambulance station.

Fundraising begins with major donors: We’ve raised over $1 million even before our current fundraising campaign began and we are confident that the support of Bowen islanders for this project will allow us reach our $5 million target. The role of major donors is critical. If you or someone you know can help make this health centre a reality, please contact Colleen O’Neil or Bill Brown. This health centre will belong to every child, senior, adult, family on Bowen. We all need to give like our health depends on it…because it does!

Fundraising begins with major donors: We’ve raised over $1 million even before our current fundraising campaign began and we are confident that the support of Bowen islanders for this project will allow us reach our $5 million target. The role of major donors is critical. If you or someone you know can help make this health centre a reality, please contact Colleen O’Neil ( or Bill Brown ( This health centre will belong to every child, senior, adult, family on Bowen. We all need to give like our health depends on it…because it does!

Decorative image shows signs reading "on-island health care as we age", "urgent care when we need it', health care close to home" and "more Lifelabs hours"

Visit us at Bowfest on August 24: We are enthusiastic participants in Bowfest this year, with both a parade contingent and a booth at the Bowfest grounds. Look for the flyer in your mailbox this week and be sure to cheer us on in the parade or drop by our booth to say hi, pick up our literature, and ask any questions.

Donate items to this year’s Knick Knack Nook auction and help build our health centre: The Knick Knack Nook has selected the Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation as the sole recipient for proceeds for its annual auction this year. Please drop off items of value earmarked for the auction at the Knick Knack Nook, such as jewelry, artwork, gently used furniture, china, silverware, tools and equipment, tickets to upcoming concerts or sporting events, holiday rentals, household or yard services…..whatever might attract worthwhile bids. The online auction is scheduled to begin in early October, and the auction event will be on November 9th.

Decorative graphic image of hands of many bright colours raised to vote, with the title 'Town Hall Meetings'

Town Hall meetings: We plan to hold Town Hall meetings this fall to help raise awareness about this vital community project. We will let you know when dates are set – we’re counting on good turnouts to spread the word and build momentum for the project across the island!

Thanks to all of you for continued support and enthusiasm! If you would like additional information on your Bowen Health Centre, please request our Case for Support at

P.S. Besides vastly improving year-round health care access for full-time residents, a health centre on Bowen gives us the security of knowing that urgent health care access is also there for our summer and weekend visitors.

Notice of Intention to Dispose of Land

From the Bowen Island Municipality website, August 7, 2019

The Municipal Council of Bowen Island Municipality hereby gives notice pursuant to Section 26 of the Community Charter of its intention to dispose of lands that are not being made available to the public for acquisition.

0.15ha Portion of Lot 3, legally described as LOT A, DISTRICT LOT 490, GROUP 1, NWD, BCP20428

Line drawing of Lot 3 showing 0.15 hectare portion to the east of Miller Road near Bowen Island Trunk Road.

The Municipality intends to sell the land to the Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation for the purchase price of $300,000 (excluding GST, PST and any other applicable sales taxes), with the condition that the property is used for the sole purpose of a Health Care Centre.

Copies of the agreements to dispose of these lands may be inspected at Municipal Hall, 981 Artisan Lane, Bowen Island. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, closed on statutory holidays.

Questions? Please contact Hope Dallas-Kerr, Corporate Officer at 604-947-4255 or

Health Centre gets their land

From “Muni Morsels” Bowen Island Undercurrent, July 25, 2019

Fourteen years after purchasing 40 acres of land from Metro Vancouver, the municipality has (nearly) made its first sale of some of its Community Lands.

In a closed meeting Monday evening, council accepted an offer from the Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation to buy 0.15 hectares of Lot 3. The offer is subject to compliance with the notice requirements in the Community Charter. (The Muni needs to let the public know.)

The property borders Miller Road, the fire hall site, and the proposed Bowen Island Resilient Community Housing (BIRCH) site, but the land has not yet been subdivided along those lines. The sale won’t close until after that happens (likely a few months or more yet).

Members of the Foundation presented Mayor Gary Ander and councillors with a cheque for $5,000 (a down payment) after Monday’s meeting, though the full sale amount hasn’t been made public. The money to buy the land came from a private donor.

Graphic image of a cheque for $5,000 from Bowen Island Municipality as deposit for purchase of 0.15 acres of Lot 3 for the Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation.

“We’re absolutely thrilled because now we can proceed with fundraising,” said Foundation president Tim Rhodes.

Rhodes said that fundraising for the health centre will begin in earnest late August. The Foundation wants to raise $5 million to build the centre mortgage-free.

For the moment the Foundation is just looking for pledges, of which it already has $1.2 million. Rhodes said that the Foundation is confident in its ability to raise the rest of the money.

“We’ve had tremendous reception from the public,” said Rhodes.

Rhodes also said that now that there’s land, the Foundation can start recruiting and advertising for doctors.

He also said that there’s enough room on the site to allow for expansion well into the future.

Bowen Health Centre Moving Forward on Key Fronts

Wondering what’s been going on with the new health centre on Bowen?

Artist's rendering of the new Health Centre for Bowen Island

The answer is, plenty! It’s been a very busy spring for the Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation (BIHCF), and we thought it was time to update our fellow islanders on this much-anticipated community project.

First — after extensive consultation and negotiations with Council and the Mayor’s Standing Committee on Community Lands — we are close to confirming a site ideally suited for the team-based health centre that Bowen needs.

Our foundation entered the recent community lands process with several key priorities. We needed an easily accessible location, within walking distance of Snug Cove and the ferry and on the bus route. We needed adequate space to bring an integrated team of primary care physicians, allied health care professionals, dental practitioners, and community health programs together under one roof. And we needed the flexibility to expand our facility and services to meet the needs of a growing population in the decades ahead.

I’m delighted to report that a very generous donor has enabled the purchase of a site on Lot 3 of the community lands that meets all of these key requirements. [We are in the final stages of negotiating an agreement with the municipality which will be subject to public comment and will then go to Council for final approval.] It’s been a long journey, with many speed bumps, but thanks to our donor we finally have the right home for Bowen’s health centre, and we strongly request your support during the public comment period.

Second, we are starting the formal process of recruiting for primary care physicians for the new centre. Based on the unsolicited expressions of interest we’ve received from physicians over the past couple of years, and given Bowen’s many lifestyle attractions, we are confident that strong candidates will emerge.

Third, we have begun the conversation with public health authorities to give us access to the broad menu of community health care programs through Vancouver Coastal Health once the health centre is up and running.

Fourth, we have created a detailed business plan laying out how the health centre will operate and how it will be funded and governed once operations are underway.

Finally, we are about to formally kick off the fundraising campaign that will make all of this happen.

Our fundraising target to build and equip the centre is $5 million. We have already received $1.2 million in pledges, so we have a very strong start even before our formal campaign has begun.

In the first phase of the campaign, we will approach those in a position to provide us with the major donations we hope will take us most of the way to our target. We will then appeal to the community at large to help get us over the top.

In the meantime, we want to thank all of you for your words of support and encouragement over the past weeks and months – whether in your comments at meetings, letters to the Undercurrent, or private conversations. Your support means everything to making this much-needed health centre a reality for Bowen!