Recent History – 2004 and beyond
By Gary Rusak, 11 April 2005
The future of the Peace River Haven is still uncertain after months of planning on a proposed renovation that would turn the senior’s home in Pouce Coupe into an assisted living facility.
Peace River South MLA Blair Lekstrom said last week that he is still not convinced that Northern Health’s plan for the Haven is the right one.
“I’m not a supporter of spending a million dollars to renovate that building for fewer beds,” he said. “I spoke with the Premier and I have met with the Gatekeepers and the Society for Community Living and I’m hopeful that we will resolve this.”
Last year, both Northern Health and B.C. Housing announced a plan to accept tenders to transform the 25-year-old facility into assisted living housing. The preliminary plan was for the building to have 22 rooms.
The Society for Community Living, a non-profit organization that operates Rotary Manor and Southview Apartments, won the tender and began the process of designing the building, in consultation with Northern Health and B.C. Housing.
The Gatekeepers, a group of concerned citizens that also submitted an application for the tender, have contested any plan that would reduce the number of people that the Haven could accommodate.
Although no final plans or costs for the renovations have been determined officially, both Lekstrom and Lyman Clark, a Gatekeeper member and Pouce Coupe village councillor, said that the proposed renovations would cost more than $1 million.
“What we are trying to do is to get them to decide what they are going to do, how they are going to handle it (and) finally open some beds,” said Clark. “It just seems like we are on a closed down course. It’s like we can’t get nywhere.”
Lekstrom said that he has been working to convince the government and
Northern Health that more beds are necessary.
“Is 60 the number we need? I don’t know,” he said. “But, I’m pretty confident that 22 has to be increased.”
The Gatekeepers believe the same thing, but Clark said they are still having difficulty communicating with Northern Health about the plans.
“My forehead feels black and blue from running against a brick wall,” Clark said. “Like any overall government programs there are always cracks. And we feel like we seniors in the Peace area… depend on the Haven and it is falling through the cracks by bureaucratic mandates.”
Both Lekstrom and Clark agreed that the Society for Community Living was a good choice to partner with for the project, but questions remain about the long-term plan for the area’s seniors.
“At the end of the day I would like to see a new (Pouce Coupe) Care Home and a new Haven developed together similar to what we see at Southview and Rotary Manor,” said Lekstrom.
“The best case scenario would be to see an overall plan that covers a number of years, to see beds open now, and to see the building utilized more extensively than it is,” Clark said. “(We want) a plan that takes care of the fact that we have two aging buildings over there and their improvement and replacement maybe into one large progressive care unit.”
Attempts to reach a spokesperson for Northern Health were unsuccessful.