Mist on the ocean, outside my bedroom window. I rise, eat breakfast and put together my lunch. I live near Sidney, on Vancouver Island, and I am meeting other trustees by 8:30 am to drive 1 ½ hours from Victoria to Lake Cowichan- the town 5 min. from the center. People are coming from all over the island-Victoria, Duncan, and Nanaimo as well as from Powell River, which is on the mainland of British Columbia, to the Trust meeting.
The Victoria folks meet to carpool, and we travel north from Victoria up the Malahat Highway, a 25-km portion of Trans-Canada Highway 1. The Malahat begins in Goldstream Provincial Park, and takes a famously winding and steep route over the 352 meter Malahat Summit to end just south of Mill Bay. This rugged region of heavy forest and steep cliffs north of Victoria is traversed by a very breathtaking road, with viewpoints providing scenic vistas of Saanich Inlet, the Saanich Peninsula, Saltspring Island, and the BC Gulf Islands in the distance. The Malahat Drive climbs over rugged mountainside and through imposing mature forests of Douglas fir, Arbutus, Hemlock, and Western red cedar before dropping down into the Cowichan Valley.
We pass through Duncan, pick up two more trust members, turn west, and head to Lake Cowichan. The property is just past the turnoff to the town, on 134 acres of gently sloping hillside.
The gate is open. We head up the winding country road that leads up the hill to the temporary Dhamma Hall. Smoke is wisping from the chimney, so it will be warm and cozy by the wood stove.
Today we are talking about the various design styles. Extensive research has gone into reviewing the local weather patterns here, the environmental impact, and the energy usage of the future center. We have agreed to build to a much higher standard than the usual recommended insulation value, and are trying to figure out what type of construction to use that will fit this locale the best.
We also looked again at the layout of the buildings, having spent several years looking at other centers designs, talking to center managers and assistant teachers about their recommendations for the ideal meditation center.
The building site has been cleared; the road is being widened to accommodate the power poles which will be installed soon. The well company is ready to drill a well. The septic engineers have spent 2 years designing an appropriate septic plan, during this period they have consulted with other centers gathering experiential knowledge to help eliminate problems that have occurred elsewhere.
At this time we do not have the funds to continue with major projects, however we still continue to plan for future developments knowing that at every center, donations have been received for construction! How extraordinary to actually be involved in shaping the future of a new centre.