The North Island Seniors Housing Foundation has been granted charitable status by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
“We had to become a society first, and then I wrote up an application to the CRA’s charities directorate, and we just got the letter,” stated the foundation’s treasurer Dan Foster, who added it was about a six month process in total.
The foundation is currently working to build a supportive living facility in Port Hardy to serve seniors in the North Island.
“A lot of people end up going down island or staying in their homes long past being able to operate in their homes,” noted Foster, who added this type of housing would include private living spaces and certain services to assist with daily living. Meal service will be included, but units will have kitchenettes as well.
“We are hoping the complex will have space for the Hardy Bay Seniors to use along with other amenities, including bathing facilities currently in very short supply for seniors who require assistance or special equipment for this activity,” noted Foster. “This is a real serious problem, Eagle Ridge is the only place where seniors can go for bathing services, and they can only get in once a week. That’s not what we would like for our seniors.”
The foundation has approached the District of Port Hardy for a piece of land owned by the district on Trustee Road near the North Island Mall.
“We’ve been in some discussions with the district, up by the North Island Mall parking lot there is an empty space of a few acres that the district seems to favour and we think it would be quite useful for our purposes,” stated Foster. “We’re initially looking at about 24 units, hoping to increase it to 48 units at some point, as we believe the need is there.”
Fundraising in support of this venture and application to government agencies such as BC Housing is now underway, and the foundation will be talking with local stakeholders as well.
“I’ve been warning people I know that we will be coming to talk to them soon,” laughed Foster, adding they will probably be talking to the Port Hardy Rotary Club “to get some fundraising going with them.”
Foster pointed out this project is going to be “a place where people can stay and don’t have to leave when they get old.”
In other North Island seniors news, the provincial government has just announced that from Sooke to Port Hardy, seven communities on Vancouver Island are receiving age-friendly grants to support seniors so they can live active, socially engaged and independent lives.
“We are listening to seniors in this province and providing funding for age-friendly action items to help them age at home in their communities,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Seniors who are connected to their communities and are active live longer, healthier lives and our government wants to keep that continuing.”
Port Hardy’s senior project:
The creation of outdoor garden spaces for the Hardy Bay Senior Centre, which will lead to improved healthy eating. The garden beds will be raised to allow for increased accessibility, reducing the need to kneel or bend.