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New seniors housing coming to Pemberton

Councillor hails 18 additional housing units

Pemberton seniors and people with disabilities will have a few more places to call home with the construction of 18 new housing units, the provincial government announced last week.

West Vancouver-Garibaldi MLA Joan McIntyre said in an April 8 news release that 18 new modular housing units are to be built at 7420 Flint Street, just off Portage Road and Pemberton's main thoroughfare. They're going to be built as part of the new Seniors' Rental Housing initiative, which aims to create 1,000 new units across B.C.

"Our government is continuing to invest in projects that are not only a valuable addition to our range of successful housing programs, but create jobs for local families," McIntyre said in the news release. "Seniors and persons with disabilities can face some housing challenges and this initiative will give them additional options."

The news release goes on to state that construction of the first 218 units under the Seniors Rental Housing initiative will begin in 19 communities "over the next few months," but it doesn't provide specific dates.

The initiative comes as part of a $14 billion capital infrastructure program that the province hopes will create 80,000 jobs. The release also notes that the province is contributing $469 million to affordable housing and shelter this year.

Pemberton Councillor Ted Craddock, who made seniors housing a central feature of his platform in the November election, welcomed the news.

"I think anything we get is obviously going to be a big, big help for the community," he said. "In the seniors' housing meeting just recently there was up to 52 people identified in town or out of town that would welcome seniors' housing.

"(That) would give an opportunity for some of those people who've had to move out of the community to come back and spend their last days in the community they grew up in."

Craddock also said that the Pemberton Lions Club has been instrumental in creating seniors housing within the community, and that the 18 new units could add to those efforts.

"They have a number of units on their land, they've done a tremendous job downtown promoting it," he said. "Maybe we can do something where there's maybe a small, apartment-type building where seniors can get extra help, either with food services and/or in-house medical help with pill placement and that type of thing."

The Village of Pemberton (VOP) has a Select Committee on Seniors Housing that tackles the issue. As part of the VOP's 2008 Strategic Plan, there is a commitment to supporting affordable housing and other initiatives that can help area residents age at home.

Council adopted terms of reference for the committee at a March 2008 meeting. In the terms there are commitments to conduct an analysis of current and future needs for seniors over the next decade, as well as carry out an economic feasibility study analysis for affordable housing.

The committee is also responsible for seeking funding partners and research partnership options for seniors' housing.