A new retirement community boasting more than 100 units is coming to Port Alberni, as developers and city officials look to alleviate a lack of housing for seniors in the area.
On Tuesday, ground was broken on the five-storey, 102-unit Timberline at North Park, a 100,000-square-foot facility bound for Anderson Avenue, according to B.C.-based non profit Vancouver Resource Society (VRS).
VRS says Timberline will be its 12th seniors’ property, offering full seniors services including meals, housekeeping and recreation, with rent starting at $2,500 per month for a studio suite, $3,000 for a one-bedroom and $3,600 for a two-bedroom.
Twelve of the units will be completely accessible, and all units will be equipped with a kitchen, with a communal dining room, lounge, commercial kitchen, bistro, e-learning centre, fitness and games rooms and community gardens also on site.
“Creating safe and affordable housing is the foundation in fostering a vibrant community. What stood out for us as a council was the level of care that has been put into the planning for this facility,” said Port Alberni’s Mayor Sharie Minions.
City council approved the development permit for Timberline, which will sit on the old Port Alberni District Secondary School grounds, back in May 2021.
At the time, councillors applauded the project, saying it would add smaller single-family homes to which local seniors are looking to downsize, as highlighted in a February 2021 Alberni Valley housing needs assessment.
VRS echoes the assessment, saying Port Alberni was identified as having a “high need” for this housing style based on an aging demographic. It says the project will also enhance the local economy by hiring staff to run the facility.
The provincial government says Timberline was funded through HousingHub, a division within BC Housing established to create affordable rental housing and homeownership options.
VRS says some seniors with low to moderate incomes will also benefit from the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) program, which helps make rent more affordable for eligible residents by providing monthly cash payments.
“Timberline at North Park will provide safe and secure homes for our residents with services designed for seniors of a variety of ages, interests and abilities,” said Andrew Trinder, VRS’ director of senior living.
“We are proud to be a new part of this community and be building homes for local seniors in Port Alberni,” added Trinder.
Timberline should be move-in ready by summer 2024.