The South Peace Health Council (SPHC) wants to build a 30-unit seniors independent housing project on the same land where the new Rotary Manor will be constructed.
But whether or not SPHC can get enough funding from B.C. Housing for the $3.5 million project is doubtful because the total exceeds what would be typically spent for such a project by $732,800.
SPHC chairperson Sheila Barnes said BC Housing has told her it’s over-budget but holds out some reason for optimism.
“Their first comment was ‘whoa, this could be a little bit more than we could afford to spend, but we haven’t yet done their budget number crunching.'” she said.
Barnes said the project would make a good complement to the new Rotary Manor. Seniors who need some but not all of the services provided by Rotary Manor would have quick access while still maintaining a degree of independence. Barnes said a typical tenant might be an elderly couple, one of whom may have had a stroke and needs some additional care while the other is still able to take care of himself. Staff at Rotary Manor could help with the care of the stroke victim, including providing adult daycare if the spouse needed to take a day off to go shopping.
Barnes said that putting both projects on the same property would also save money on electricity, water, sewer and roads, while building them at the same time would also save money.
The project would not be in conflict with attempts by a group of local seniors to build a condominium complex downtown, Barnes said.
“We’re not aiming at that market at all” she said. “We’re looking at being able to provide secure and safe housing for seniors who have more limited resources.”
Private sources of funding had been considered in case BC Housing refuses to come through, but Barnes said the return on the investment would not make it worthwhile. The SPHC wants to hear back from BC Housing by the end of January.
Meanwhile, Barnes said progress on Rotary Manor is going well, with the list of architects short-listed to three. “We’re hoping to get into the ground with Rotary no later than this summer or fall,” she said. “We would be in construction this year and every indication is that’s what’s going to happen.”