THOMAS KERVIN PHOTO Port Hardy Council are very much in favour of helping the North Island Seniors Housing Foundation find land for a brand new complex.

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation takes the next step towards getting Trustee Road land

Seniors rejoice, Port Hardy council is very much in favour of helping to find land for a new complex.

The North Island Seniors Housing Foundation is working hard to secure the land on Trustee Road. The group sent in a request to Port Hardy council, which was brought up for discussion at council’s Feb. 13 meeting.

Gordon Patterson, Chairperson of the North Island Seniors Housing Foundation (NIS Housing Foundation), penned a lengthy letter to council, stating, “The purpose of acquiring the lands is to build a Supportive Seniors Housing complex. The NIS Housing Foundation is a registered charitable society dedicated to creating a Supportive Living Home for Seniors and those with disabilities. Today many of our North Island Seniors are sent to distant care facilities when they are no longer able to live without support, tearing apart families by hundreds of kilometers, tearing seniors away from familiar surrounding and friendships, at a stage of life when they need our support the most!”

Patterson noted the foundation believes “there is a place for all seniors here on the North Island. Our foundation Charter mandate is to provide such a supportive living space where our valued seniors can live with dignity and support, enjoying the familiar companionship they deserve.”

According to the letter, the NIS Housing Foundation made a forward thinking decision to acquire the Trustee Road property “to the benefit of all North Island Seniors today; while at the same time providing room for expanded amenities, growth patterns, affordability, and transitional seniors’ needs of the future.”

Patterson noted the property has strategic and unique features, making it an ideal location for a North Island Senior’s Supportive Residence, which are listed below:

Flat level property having room for transitional growth;

Safe access and egress road frontage;

Existing services such as power, water, sewage;

All-weather amenities in the North Island Mall;

Central to expected population growth of the future;

Adjacent green park space;

Access to Eagle Ridge and Hospital Services;

Ample parking room for today and the future; and

Ten and Twenty year planning capability.

“Upon acquiring the property, either outright or in trust, the NIS Foundation will move forward with an RFP targeted to the many skilled trades persons on the North Island, to create a beacon for the North Island: a stakeholder designed Supportive Seniors’ Housing Complex,” wrote Patterson, who added, “This exciting project is expected to be completed in two initial phases over the next 4 years; with following phases over the next 15 years depending upon seniors’ transitional needs.”

The two initial phases of construction in short will be:

Phase 1

Twenty-five initial apartments;

One hundred-twenty place communal dining room/kitchen;

Activity/meeting centre to accommodate one hundred persons;

Support in house amenities;

Health care lease opportunities;

Office and administrative space;

Phase 2

An additional twenty-five residences depending upon needs; and

Additional seniors’ amenities & services as stakeholders require.

“The facility will be a state of the art self-sustaining compliment to the growing interests of the North Island, with grounds, health service lease space, and recreation areas designed to create a relaxing and enjoyable living experience for our senior & family members,” added Patterson.

The Foundation will fund the project in its entirety through mechanisms such as:

Health care partnerships;

Private subscription;

Legacy sponsorship;

Ministry funding and grants; and

Industry sponsorship of individual residences and amenities.

“We look forward to working together with the District to keep our seniors on the North Island bringing success to the vision of this worthwhile project, concluded Patterson.

“Is there a motion that somebody would like to put forward?” asked Deputy Mayor Fred Robertson.

“I would like to ask staff to explore this option of providing some land (and return to council with some recommendations),” said Coun. Janet Dorward.

Coun. Pat Corbett-Labatt noted she thinks it’s a really good idea, and that she had actually been involved with the foundation for awhile in the past. “I think what they are trying to do is exceptional, It’s so well needed and I know there is a lot of community support — that being said, there needs to be more background and a look at the land.”

“I understand BC Housing — in order to receive a proposal — they want to see land in place for that to happen,” said Robertson, who then asked if there is a timeframe the foundation needs to have land approved by.

“Yes, there is a sense of urgency here,” said Patterson who was in attendance at the meeting, “because there are monies available through various grants and whatnot, and we are meeting with BC Housing on the 22nd of February, but having said that, there is no need to proceed with extraordinary speed and overlook caution in this.”

Coun. John Tidbury stated he would like to send a letter stating council is very much in favour of finding land for this group.

“That would be absolutely fantastic,” said Patterson, who added they need an agreement in principle and for all the parties and stakeholders to sit down at the table to help ensure the best interests of the seniors in the community.

Council approved the motion to send the request for land to staff to explore the option of providing land for the NIS Foundation.

Tidbury’s request to send a letter to the NIS Foundation, stating that they are in favour of the idea of finding land and are looking forward to working with them, was also agreed to by council.

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