The Brooksdale Environmental Centre recently grew by nearly 10 acres. Those acres of forest, wetland, river and a substantial house are all part of a property currently known as “Hazelmere Cottage” that lies immediately east of Brooksdale.

Is A Rocha now in the land game, you ask? With Brooksdale under our belt have we suddenly gotten hungry for more territory?

Au contraire!

The road to acquiring Hazelmere is nuanced and not finished, but it involves years of prayer, discernment, the partnership of a generous supporter, and a desire to be good stewards of the Little Campbell River watershed. It also includes the need for more housing as our internship program, space for residential staff and retreat space has quickly become stretched beyond maximum capacity.

So, here’s the story.

Brooksdale’s guesthouse looks across the Little Campbell River to a beautiful property – the aforementioned Hazelmere –that includes over 7 acres of sensitive forest, wetland and river habitat. It also includes 2 acres of lawn and a large residence, built by the former owners of Brooksdale, the Neufeld family. Hazelmere was in fact once part of the bigger Brooksdale property when it operated as a care facility in the 1980’s and 90’s.

In wondering and praying about Brooksdale’s mission to transform people and places, a dream started to emerge of rejoining Hazelmere with Brooksdale, thus making the land we steward a contiguous whole as it connects with other conserved land nearby. The dream also included opening more retreat, staff and intern space for the steady stream of folks finding their way to our door.

Enter a sympathetic supporter with business know how, who suggested A Rocha acquire Hazelmere. To show the seriousness of his suggestion, he committed to donate a whopping third of the purchase price.

Next, cue Hazelmere’s sympathetic owner who suggested the friendliest of selling terms, including an interest-free payment schedule while we raise the remaining amount to close the deal. (We’re just over half way to our goal with 18 months to raise the rest.)

David Anderson, Brooksdale’s Centre Director, had this to say about the purchase:

“Hazelmere is strategically significant in many ways. As part of our planning with the Board, we have set goals for increasing our earned revenue so that we can improve our financial sustainability.

Moving some staff and our intern program to the new Hazelmere house enables that program to expand and thrive, while also opening residential space on-site to increase our capacity for hosting retreats. This helps our earned revenue, and it furthers our mission of exposing more visitors and church groups to creation care.

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Help with the Refurbishment!

Over the next few months Hazelmere Cottage is being refurbished to suite A Rocha’s needs. Come lend a hand as we re-imagine this space for years to come!
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At the same time, it also ensures good stewardship of the other side of the river, and opens opportunities for expanded trails and education. So it is win-win on many levels.”

The addition of Hazelmere means Brooksdale is positioned to be an even greater catalyst for change in the world as we transform people and places for the love of God.

For those itching to know how you can be a part of this exciting development please contact our office.


Support the Expansion

Your support will provide much-needed space for future interns, volunteers and guests as they support A Rocha’s creation care efforts.

View of Hazelmere Cottage from Across River