“He loved the job, he loved people and he loved nature.”
Janis Melnychuk offered those reflections when she spoke of her late father, Dr Alex T. Melnychuk, during a symbolic breaking of ground at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) on Thursday.
The KBRH Health Foundation recently announced its spring campaign, the “Dr. Alex T. Melnychuk Memorial Garden,” a green space project with a goal to be ready in time for summer.
Throughout his 37 years as a practitioner in Trail, Doctor Melnychuk was dedicated to improving healthcare in the Kootenay Boundary, said Lisa Pasin, director of development for the foundation.
“And he had a special interest in Poplar Ridge Pavilion.”
The foundation’s vision is to create a tranquil green space on the hospital grounds and dedicate it to the late doctor.
The area secured for the project is currently an expanse of grass just outside Poplar Ridge and not being used as a common area.
The memorial garden will have a wide path to allow wheelchair accessibility and an assortment of bench and tables that will also be wheelchair accessible, said Pasin.
“This is so touching and fitting,” said the late doctor’s wife, Gayle Melnychuk.
“Poplar Ridge is where he spent the latter part of his career working with the elderly,” she said.
Pasin said that several beds of colourful flowering bushes and trees will be designed to create privacy as well as visual appeal.
“Having an area for respite and relaxation for patients and their families, visitors, volunteers and employees, is a necessary part of maintaining and improving wellness at KBRH,” she said.
“This is so touching because as soon as my Dad got home from work he would sit outside, in all seasons,” said Janis Melnychuk.
“It was all about the trees, the squirrels and the birds.”
Before ground can actually be broken, the foundation needs to raise $30,000, explained Pasin.
The estimated cost to create the tranquil space is $50,000, however, a local garden landscape company has reduced the cost by securing $20,000 in donated equipment, labour and materials, she said.
Pasin said that there will be opportunities to purchase picnic tables and benches, which can be affixed with a memorial plaque or a plaque citing the donor’s name.
Additionally as the project progresses, donor’s can sponsor a tree and individual plants.
“Even though recognition levels are provided, donations of any value are gratefully accepted,” said Pasin.
For more information and to donate, call the foundation at 364-3424 or email email@example.com
“I’m really thankful because he will be here in spirit and bless the process, I know it,” said Janis.