Easter Seals is a service of the BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities and has been an established leader since 1947 in supporting persons with disabilities through programs and services like Easter Seals Camps and Easter Seals House. These services are both important and life-changing, giving persons with disabilities the self-esteem, self-confidence and sense of independence that is needed to help them live their best life.
Camp Shawnigan Redevelopment Project
Our Goal: To rebuild camp and add new functionalities that better meet our mission and financial needs.
Easter Seals is embarking on a project to upgrade and redevelop our camp facilities adjacent to Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island. The existing facilities are reaching the end of their service and do not allow for year round use. This renewal will help drive the organization’s vision to support future programming and enhance services for persons with physical and cognitive disabilities.
Most camp and leisure facilities are unfriendly to people with disabilities. The vision for Camp Shawnigan is to be a real game changer by breaking down access barriers by utilizing universal design and technology, embracing the natural curves of the land, and a little innovation.
On a personal and powerful level, Camp Shawnigan will allow for certainty and independence. A person with a disability will no longer have to hope there is a bystander or a capable staff member to provide direct assistance. The experience for one of our campers or any guest’s family members with a disability, will be one of joy, freedom of movement met with dignity and full participation.
2180 Shawnigan Lake Road
Shawnigan Lake, B.C.
The area highlighted in yellow on the map is the main facility area. The parcels with dotted lines are additional land holdings and is separated from the lake front property by the main road.
The site is owned by Easter Seals, while the lakebed is owned by the forest company Mosaic. Negotiations are in development with Mosaic to create lease or tenure over the lake bottom area between the camp and the small island. This will give Easter Seals control of the water-based activities in that area, in order to ensure the continued safety of guests.
Official Community Plan (OCP) Designation
The campgrounds have a mix of OCP designations as it is a combination of several sites that include designations such as Village Residential, Parks and Institutional, and Water Use.
The multiple zones of the campground include Suburban Residential, Parks and Institutional, and Water Recreation. The new project will include writing a new custom (CD) zone for the updated site.
The project is in the initial phase of design and approvals. In addition to upgrades and redevelopment, it includes rezoning (and possibly a minor consequential OCP amendment). A development permit may also be sought for the first phase once Easter Seals is ready to commence development.
The Project Team
The project team includes:
- Planner: Holland Planning Innovations
- Architect: HCMA
- Landscape Architect: PWL Partnership
- Civil Consultants: McElhanney
- Surveyor: McElhanney
- Appraiser: Ryan Consultants
- Business Analyst: Valerie Prodanuk
- Environmental: Satori Environmental
Imagine a navigation system that would send audio cues to users, providing directions, flagging dangerous surfaces and otherwise transforming what was previously a “no-go” area into a welcoming, accessible adventure. Imagine being able to get excited about having a swim in the lake that provides a dignified and easy way to enter the water. Imagine being one with nature, walking among the trees on a fully accessible tree top walk & roll path. Imagine a place with no limits.
The project aims to redevelop the site by introducing new buildings and landscape features.
Following universal accessibility standards, buildings containing changing rooms, nursing facilities, dining hall, multipurpose space, and accommodation cabins will be added to the site.
The landscape design will be oriented towards providing maximum freedom around the site and access to water bodies for specially-abled personnel.
The pedestrian movement on-site will flow with the site’s natural topography– slopes, water bodies, rocks, tree boulevards. It will aim to provide scenic gathering and socializing spaces along with pockets of private corners.
- The program for the project continues to expand as we approach various potential partners and organizations who may also want to use the site, but an initial program has been developed.
- The list of new facilities/landscape/elements include:
- Arrival Zone
- Arrival zone including a new parking lot and vehicular access road.
- Bridge connection between the dining hall to the North and the cabins to the South.
- Arrival facilities building including change rooms, and nursing facilities.
- Service facility building.
- Dining hall building with 108 capacities.
- 10 Cabins accommodating 8 to 10 people.
- Multipurpose space and staff accommodation building.
- Pool Room
- Arts programming building.
- Amphitheatre designed for accessible gathering and performance.
- New dock and boardwalk for better access to the water.
- Nature themed playground designed on inclusive design principles.
- Large patio extending from the dining hall for outdoor activities.
In addition, there are the lands across Shawnigan Lake Rd that Easter Seals own. A vision for them will also be created that may include extending the primary facilities, offering additional facilities, and / or possibly including some residential land for investment or divestment as a fund-raising initiative.
- Arrival Zone
There are many positive aspects of Easter Seals and Camp Shawnigan, and a strong network of supportive partners and relationships that will be part of this project. There is also general support from the CVRD for the initiative.
Easter Seals intends to maintain its focus on supporting people with various abilities and challenges – as well as making its facilities available to others for use as a fund-raising program (events, education, others).
A range of “accessible” standards will be explored for a standard of universal site planning and design, including that of the Rick Hansen Foundation, and others. The goal will be to have this location become a living laboratory and leading example of accessible and sensitive design for those with physical or cognitive challenges.
Our team is currently working on expanding the uses and scope of the site. We are also working on building meaningful relationships with the First Nations and other possible partners or community and educational institutions that might want to use the facilities when the camps are not operating.
Engaging with the public and these important stakeholders will help us draw out a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable master plan for the Easter Seals. Our team has come up with the following work plan that is still evolving:
- To connect with many potential community and educational institutions who may want to partner or use the new facilities in the future, and to build a development plan that supports a diverse and year-round user group, consistent with the mission and vision of Easter Seals.
- To conduct a range of studies such as environmental, engineering, and others to identify and resolve challenges and opportunities for the site.
- To work with the CVRD on an appropriate new zoning and design to support the updated vision.
- To explore a range of accessible” standards – including that of the Rick Hansen Foundation, and others. The goal will be to have this location become a living laboratory and leading example of accessible and sensitive design for those with physical or cognitive challenges.
- To work with the design team and our partners to develop a cutting-edge example of accessible landscapes and buildings.
- To move forward through the approvals process with the CVRD.
We Want to Hear From You
As we want this project to be created with and for the community, we are interested in your thoughts about the project.
We expect to continue to provide updated information online and to our participant stakeholders. We also expect to engage the community in discussions as the project unfolds.
Please contact us to discuss the project and the questions we have posed, or anything else you want to discuss. Some possible topics could be:
- What are some design features/elements that can help accommodate people of different ages and abilities?
- What community facilities or programs are needed in the Shawnigan Lake area?
- What facilities might be useful to your organization over the course of a year?
- What recreational activities/program should be offered in the camp?
Please contact us to discuss the project and the questions we have posed, or anything else you want to discuss.
Click here to send us your comments and questions.
Contact our project manager: