Kindale Developmental Association in Armstrong is naming its soon-to-be-completed new home in honour of its founder, Lydia Boss.
Gary Boss, Lydia’s 56-year-old son, had eight simple words to tell the crowd of more than 100 gathered for the ground-breaking ceremony to signal the start of construction of the two-storey building on Patterson Avenue.
“This is a good way to remember her,” said Gary, joined by his brother, Roy Boss, for the ceremony. “I loved my mom.”
When completed, hopefully by the end of the year, the Lydia Boss Centre will be a one-of-its-kind building in the North Okanagan.
Not only will the 6,200 square foot structure house Kindale’s administrative offices, and offices where Kindale’s programs are developed and deliverd, but the Lydia Boss Centre will also include seven affordable housing apartments.
According to her son, Roy, Lydia Boss – who would have been 100 this year – recognized the need for education opportunities for childen with special needs shortly after Gary was born. But there were no such opportunities in the area.
With help from a large group of people, including the Armstrong Kinsmen Club, Boss built the original Kindale school. That school has since evolved into what Kindale has become today.
“I don’t think there are other communities in B.C. or even maybe Canada where Kindale could have done what they’ve accomplished,” said Roy Boss. “That’s not only a tribute to the people who have worked with Kindale, but to the City of Armstrong. I’m sure mom is looking down with a smile and is very proud of what’s going on here.”
Sue Phillips, chairperson of Kindale’s board of directors, said Lydia Boss did so much for people with developmental disabilities in Armstrong that the new building will position Kindale to carry on evolving for decades to come.
“We’ll be able to meet the needs of the individuals and families we serve faster and more efficiently,” said Phillips.
Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper said the new building will be a welcome addition to the downtown core.
Kindale currently owns the Bechtold Centre which is on the Patterson Avenue lots and will remain there.
The centre houses the Kindale Thrift Store on the main level, a major money generator for Kindale for charitable and non-profit enterprises.
The lower level features a Kindale community living centre.
Kindale’s administration offices, currently housed in the Century 21 building in Armstrong, would move to the newly constructed building.