Developer Donates $140,865 to Women’s Centre

By Michael Luba
Published: Oct. 6, 2014

Clasina van Bemmel, a first-time developer who plans to build a spiritual centre in downtown Squamish, donated $140,865 to the Howe Sound Women’s Centre to support long term housing for women and children fleeing abuse.


Clasina van Bemmel

The funding was a community amenity contribution by Bemmel, and this donation means she won’t have to contribute to the town’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund.

Sheila Allen, the director of women’s centre, thanked Bemmel and called her generosity a milestone in the centre’s efforts to provide long-term, sustainable housing for women and their children fleeing abuse.

The women’s centre runs a transition house, Pearl’s Place, but it is only available for short-term, emergency use. Women, children, and their pets can stay at Pearl’s Place Transition House for up to 30 days, but do not have access to housing support beyond that time frame.

It’s the reason why women’s centre started the second stage housing project and continues to seek funding from BC Housing and other partners to cover development and operating costs. (Good work providing background and context)

The need for second stage housing in Squamish was identified by ‘Project Melany’, a recent study focused on the housing needs of women fleeing abuse in the Sea to Sky Corridor.

The second stage housing will provide counselling, along with safe, affordable housing at subsidized rental rates. 

The donation from Bemmel is the initial investment and women’s centre is discussing funding options with BC Housing and other partners.

If you want to support the project, contact Sheila Allen at or 604-892-5748.


  1. rob weys says:

    Very generous donation Clasina Van Bemmel, I applaud you for this.
    Great support for a good organization and cause. True community commitment.

  2. Rick says:

    True community commitment? You, Miss Van Bemmel, were a driving force that devided this community not too many years ago. A lot of us remember you.

  3. Rick says:

    One word. CHIPS.

  4. Dave Colwell says:

    If a town can be divided, over an issue, this implies that close to 50% are for it and 50% against. In the case of the Wood Chip issue, apparently more than 50% were against it otherwise it would be running. Anyway I cannot see what this has to do with Clasina’s donation, which should be welcomed with gratitude.
    A little sour grapes here, I think.
    I had no real opinion on the Chips issue at the time.

  5. Dave Colwell says:

    In the light of my comment above one does wonder what would be deemed community commitment in the case of the LNG issue….just sayin’ :-)

  6. Rick says:

    No sour grapes here Dave. Just calling it how it happened. My intention is not to re live the issue. The donation, super. There are a lot of Women that do need help. The Women’s centre does do many good things in our town. No argument from me. If you had no real opinion on the issue, maybe you did not follow it? Maybe Ms Van Bemmel can share her opinion on the LNG project and how it will effect her plans this time. To me, and please remember this is my opinion, it looks like history repeating it’s self again. I have been wrong before. Time will tell.

  7. Dave Colwell says:

    Although this is probably not the place to discuss this Rick; regarding splitting the town on any issue…….
    Such a phenomenon is driven by the Demography of the town and the philosophies of those who live there. The chips issue is over and was probably driven by a mixture of misinformation, perceptions of aesthetics (misplaced or not) and apathy on the part of many who might have supported either side for whatever reason, but didn’t get involved.
    The result was that a business opportunity was lost at the time for the prospective entrepreneurs/job seekers, and others were relieved not to look at a chip pile.
    The LNG issue is much more complex. …. but, again: misinformation, divers demographics, mistrust of the company involved, fear for the environment, always aesthetics and uncertainty about financial spin-off.
    However, all parties in this town should be able to air their opinion, even if such appears to “split the town”. This is called ,Democracy. It could get more defined since we now have a population composed of a great many young families mixed with the older diehards…wise or not :-)

    • Clasina van Bemmel says:

      Re: Chips or LNG – everybody has a right to their own opinion. And with that in mind here is another thought.
      I think that if the District of Squamish would finally put their plan into place to develop the waterfront area downtown, tourists will come into town after going up the new gondola, before and after going to Whistler for a visit and provide new business opportunities and new jobs for the local residents. With the new gondola and an exciting new waterfront area Squamish would slowly become a new tourist destination. Whistler may have the mountains but Squamish has the mountains and the ocean and is closer to Vancouver.