The Friends of Bethlehem Retreat Centre Society is hosting a series of public meetings to draw ideas to create a vision for the retreat’s future and to attract potential investors to help finance the purchase of the property.
The Bethlehem Retreat Centre and property, located at 2371 Arbot Rd. on the shore of Westwood Lake, is owned by the Benedictine Sisters of Nanaimo who put it put up for sale in 2014 for $2.8 million.
The society and the Benedictine Sisters signed a purchase agreement in September. As part of agreement, the society must be able to show it has investors committed to 75 per cent of the selling price by Feb. 27.
“We’re holding the second of our public meetings for the community to become involved in the vision of the centre and, particularly, the fundraising required to bring the purchase together,” said Rick Earl, society vice-chairman.
Earl said the society has secured one investor and is in talks with two other potential investors. It is also currently developing a new business plan for the centre and the society is hopeful it can meet the Feb. 27 deadline.
The next public meeting will be held Sunday (Jan. 25) at the Bethlehem Retreat Centre chapel at 1:30 p.m.
Subsequent meeting dates will be determined at Sunday’s meeting.
Earl said a previous meeting held Jan. 11 drew about 70 people, a number of whom have become volunteers with the society.
“It all comes,” Earl said. “This person talks to this person and it’s a combination of the money and the skills and talent people bring.”
To learn more about the Friends of Bethlehem Retreat Centre Society, become a member or contribute to fundraising, please visit the society’s website at www.friendsofbrc.com.