Seniors’ housing critical: advisory committee

Safety, housing and transportation were the key issues identified by the city’s seniors advisory committee in the past year.

Safety, housing and transportation were the key issues identified by the city’s seniors advisory committee in the past year, according chairperson Darren Saare.

The committee was struck last year as part of an initiative on the city’s part to increase citizen involvement in civic government.

With the population over 75 expected to increase by 96 per cent by 2034, Saare said that the city needs a more responsive body in charge of seniors housing.

“We’re hoping to see a senior committee formed to address the issue of seniors’ housing,” said Saare. The committee would be similar in nature to the Alberni Valley Stakeholders Initiative to end homelessness, run out of MLA Scott Fraser’s office.

“There’s some great talent on the numerous non-profits in town. By having them all in the same room together, as opportunities come forward we’ll be able to act on them quicker,” he said.

Saare said it was important to be able to seize each and every opportunity to bring more seniors housing to the Alberni Valley, whether it be assisted living, independent living or congregate care.

“We need all forms of housing,” he said.

It needs to be in good condition, too—according to Saare, there was a higher percentage of dwellings needing repairs in Port Alberni at 13 per cent than on Vancouver Island or in  B.C. at seven per cent.

“So what happens is that seniors are unable to stay in their homes as long as they can in other communities and they’re prematurely ending up in care homes.”

Coun. Denis Sauve, the city’s liaison to the seniors advisory committee expressed concern over the fact that those care homes are often outside of the Alberni Valley.

“I see seniors having to visit their loved ones in another town,” said Sauve.

“It’s the crapshoot of actually having a placement but having to be out in Parksville or Victoria or Nanaimo.”

Coun. Jack McLeman agreed that VIHA hasn’t given enough funding to seniors housing in the Alberni Valley.

“Last word they gave us was that 15 beds in Parksville was good enough for Port Alberni.”

There are currently 192 publicly subsidized beds split between Echo Park, Fir Village, Rainbow Gardens and Westhaven in Port Alberni.

Saare said that with all of the stakeholders together in one committee, their voices would likely have more weight with VIHA.

McLeman said that while he supported the initiative, he was concerned that it would just be a duplication of others already in existence.

“It’s a good idea what you’re doing but what I’d hate to see happen is just another committee formed and duplicating things that are happening.”

City council directed staff to facilitate the creation of a seniors housing stakeholders initiative.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

twitter.com/AlberniNews

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

New Vancouver Island University chancellor Judith Sayers was sworn in at a virtual ceremony June 17. (Submitted photo)
VIU’s new chancellor seeks innovation and equality in post-secondary education

Judith Sayers officially sworn in as Vancouver Island University chancellor

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read