Monday, April 15, 2024




At a time when the world is experiencing a major, socially interruptive situation, Rotary comes to the rescue. Ayre Manor, a seniors housing complex in the small town of Sooke at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, offers all levels of Complex, Assisted, and Independent Living facilities on their six acre estate near the downtown area of Sooke.

The COVID 19 pandemic created difficulties for the Seniors to visit with family and friends, especially with the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s stringent guidelines of contact. With this in mind, Sandy Pednault, Ayre Manor administrator, contacted the Rotary Club of Sooke to discuss a potential project.

Sandy Pednault’s said:  “Our goal is to create an environment where residents can safely meet with family and friends within Island Health guidelines, which is difficult with the current restrictions and can result in isolation, loneliness and depression for residents”.

The Rotary Club of Sooke immediately started discussing options that could meet that goal. Within a few weeks the Community Service Committee had presented professionally engineered plans to the Municipality of Sooke for approval to construct two Gazebos, complementing the design and appearance of the of existing facility, situated near the main entrances. The specific location of the two gazebos was determined and the site preparation began. About eight active members of the club and two Friends of the Club offered to build the gazebos.

The Municipal approval was obtained and Sooke businesses offered ‘in kind’ and financial support for timber, concrete, hardware and landscape materials.  A local contractor brought in his equipment to prepare the site and set the concrete base. Most of these services and materials, if not free, were significantly reduced in price by the local suppliers, one, because we are Rotary and two, because of the sense of community for this project.

I would like to explain that these Gazebos are not the run-of-the-mill Gazebos, with eight by eight inch vertical supports and twelve foot long, three by ten inch upper support beams I do not believe these gazebos could be damaged by any earthquake. Notably, this was all accomplished by a group of over 70 year old Rotary Members. AND we did it!

Today the wheel chair friendly gazebos are being put to good use. To celebrate we held an ‘in person’ evening meeting for all members, friends and their families in the gazebos.

Rotary Club of Sooke and Ayre Manor Seniors Housing whole heartedly thank the generous support from the community, our Rotarians and our Friends in Rotary.

So what is the next project?

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