By Laura Keil
Construction on 16 new seniors units could be underway by next spring, after BC Housing announced they would fund the residential part of the Valemount Cares seniors housing project.
Valemount Senior Citizen’s Housing Society Chair Mary Anne Watt praised the Valemount Cares sub-committee and the project lead Rashmi Narayan for their work on this file.
“I can’t say enough about Rashmi and her committee,” said Watt. “They’ve done such a wonderful job. I’m just in awe of what she’s (Narayan’s) done in a year.”
The Society intends for the new building to be the first of its kind in Valemount, by providing additional supports to residents like laundry, housekeeping and some meals. The existing seniors housing at Golden Years Lodge and the row housing on 3rd ave do not have in-house services, though many residents receive some support from Better at Home and other programs.
Receiving BC Housing approval for the new project is a huge step, and Narayan said a lot of credit goes to the Village of Valemount for their support.
“Without the Village being on board, there’s no way we could have gone forward,” Narayan said. “By providing land, finding grants for a new lift station to service the property and allocating staff resources to move this project along, we have a strong partner and ally.”
Getting the bulk of the funding from BC Housing paves the way for the society to seek top-up grants to cover the extras in the building, Narayan said. BC Housing only covers the residential portion, so areas like the dining room, kitchen, lift tub, multi-purpose room and guest suite will have to be covered by other grants and/or donations. She said that is why they are still actively fundraising, and so far they have raised $27,000 out of their $100,000 goal.
“We’re grateful to local groups and individuals who have supported the project through money, letters, sweat and prayers,” she said.
They anticipate a construction start date of spring 2022 at the proposed site south of Valemount Secondary, Narayan says, though they have to proceed through several steps before construction can begin. Once the building is completed, the Society will work with Northern Health and other service providers to deliver supportive living services at affordable costs for the residents, she said.
Donations can be made by cheque, Paypal or on their GoFundMe page. For more instructions visit their website: vschs.ca/fundraising
The Valemount Cares project was one of 47 new projects through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund (CHF). The fund will help create 2,455 rental homes for individuals, families, seniors, people with disabilities and Indigenous peoples throughout the province. The CHF supports mixed-income buildings, where 50% of the units are for households with annual incomes up to $64,000; 30% of the units are for households with incomes up to approximately $74,000; and 20% of the units are for households with very low incomes (including those on income or disability assistance).