Whistler loses long-time residents to senior housing in city 

There’s a comfortable home high in Alpine where a few outdoor signs give visitors a small inkling about the couple who lives inside.

The first sign proclaims "Welcome" which gives fair warning that once you step inside you’ll feel like you’re being enveloped in a warm hug.

The second sign says "There’s two people that live here, one is a lovely person and the other is a grouch," which tells you that you’ll probably have a good laugh with the resident grump and sweetheart, whomever they may be.

More recently there’s a new sign that says, "For Sale."

And so despite their greatest efforts and against their long-term wishes Eileen and Gordon Tomalty are leaving Whistler and settling in a seniors home in North Vancouver.

"I came to the mountains because I enjoy the outdoors and I enjoy skiing," said Gordon Tomalty, who had a stroke a little over a year ago and has been anxious to move to a home with access to care.

"I feel like I’m losing a big part of what I came here for. It’s going to be a big loss."

The Tomaltys’ dream of a building seniors housing in Whistler, a dream they first conceived 10 years ago when the Mature Action Committee was established, has yet to be realized. And they cannot wait around indefinitely any longer.

"You can only watch so many (deals) slip and fall," said Eileen.

"You get fed up and that’s what happened."

Both Eileen and Gordon are in their 70s and as health issues are becoming more and more worrisome, they have been eager to see some results from MAC’s work.

In March last year Eileen was confident that a new land deal would give MAC a seniors complex with around 25 to 30 units in White Gold.

This site was also slated for resident housing.

With a deal so close, Eileen was sure they could stay in Whistler until the development was built, despite Gordon’s health.

But in August, five months later, the deal feel apart.

"That was a bad weekend," said Eileen, who immediately began calling a host of seniors homes in the city when she heard the news.

"I had to find somewhere where we were going to be safe."

They found that new home in Balmoral House, a North Vancouver seniors complex. Seniors can live there totally independently and gradually move to more extended care as they need it.

It’s the kind of place they were hoping to see in Whistler.

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