One option for the North Island Seniors Housing building. Designs are still being considered. (Finlayson Bonet Architects)

One option for the North Island Seniors Housing building. Designs are still being considered. (Finlayson Bonet Architects)

Seniors housing in Port Hardy moves ahead with rezoning application

North Island seniors able to “age in place” in new facility, currently getting funding and permits

The north Island is one step closer to getting a 50-unit independent living seniors home.

The North Island Seniors Housing Foundation (NISHF) applied for development permits and rezoning on May 28.

There is no assisted living seniors’ housing currently in Port Hardy, so the elderly who require extra help are forced to move away.

That’s a tragedy, according to NISHF chair Gord Patterson.

“Why would you want to pull a senior away from their long-established friends and family and culture, and transplant them into a community where there are no familiar faces?”

The NISHF has been working on plans for seniors’ housing in Port Hardy for four years, since it was formed at Patterson’s kitchen table in 2016. A group of mostly retired business people were frustrated seeing seniors in need move away.

“We said, look, we have to get a place for our seniors and those who have disabilities to keep them here on the north Island. As north Islanders we should all work together to take care of our own. If each community did that could you imagine what a wonderful thing that would be?”

RELATED: North Island Seniors Housing Foundation is progressing towards its goals

Since then they have garnered strong support from the community. Eight acres of land beside the North Island Mall in Port Hardy has been reserved for the project. They expect to break ground sometime this year.

NISHF is applying to be funded by B.C.’s Community Housing Fund (CHF), part of the government’s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan announced in 2018. An initial round of project approvals from this year’s applications will be announced in fall 2020.

The CHF website states that applying projects must offer mixed rental rates, with 20 per cent of the units reserved for “very low incomes,” 50 per cent for incomes up to $64,000, and 30 per cent for households with incomes up to $74,000.

Patterson added that the North Island Seniors Housing project is also aimed at providing accommodation for people with disabilities, and “domicile deficient” people.

Applications to live in the facility can already be submitted. A panel from the Ministry of Social Development & Poverty Reduction, Vancouver Island Health Authority and other stakeholders will review applicants.

NISHF’s focus now is to get input to make sure the project meets the actual needs of the community. Patterson welcomes all input.

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