Unique long-term care home opens in Comox Valley 4 years behind schedule

Unique long-term care home opens in Comox Valley 4 years behind schedule
Officials from the B.C. government, Island Health and Providence Living were on hand to celebrate the coming opening of Providence Living at The Views on July 2, 2024.

A long-term care home in Comox Valley will have residents start to move in next week, after a four-year delay due to pandemic-related delays and discovering an aquifer.

Judi Wild-Hutter’s husband Lorne will be one of the 156 residents moving in.

“Oh my gosh I just get tears in my eyes. I’m overwhelmed. Lorne is going to love it,” Wild-Hutter told CHEK News.

The new long-term care facility in Comox was first announced in 2019, with the expectation that it would replace The Views at St. Joseph’s. When first announced, it was expected to open in 2020.

READ MORE FROM 2019: New residential care facility to be built in the Comox Valley

The province and Providence Living signed a project development agreement in 2020 to build Providence Living at The Views, with the timeline updated for construction to be complete in mid-2021.

READ MORE FROM 2020: $53-million dementia village with 156 beds to built in the Comox Valley

Now, four years after the initial announcement, the province says residents will be able to move into the new facility starting on July 8.

Providence says the delay was due to needing to move the location of the project after an aquifer was found under the original site. Challenges from the pandemic also caused delays to the project.

The facility, located at 211 Rodello Street, has 156 resident homes organized into 13 households. The households will each house 12 residents who will have a private suite with a bathroom and personalized features. The homes will have a shared kitchen, laundry room, dining room and living room.

“As the population of B.C. ages rapidly, our government is dedicated to ensuring that seniors are well supported within their communities,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health.

“By investing in transformative long-term care homes, we are putting seniors’ needs at the forefront and working to help maintain their independence. In these homes, seniors, especially those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, can thrive in a healthy, supportive and safe environment.”

The facility was built on based on the concepts of a dementia village, but is open to seniors with and without dementia, as well as younger adults who require long-term care.

Residents will be able to participate in regular household activities like cooking and gardening and access an outdoor courtyard and community amenities.

There is also a sacred gathering space for First Nations, MĂ©tis and Inuit staff, residents and families to honour their traditions.

“Providence Living at The Views marks the beginning of our unwavering commitment to revolutionizing long-term care for seniors in British Columbia,” said Mark Blandford, president and CEO of Providence Living.

“By embracing the Home for Us care model, which is person-centred, made-in-B.C. and inspired by the concepts of a dementia village, we are replacing the conventional institutional approach with one that truly honours each resident’s individuality and daily well-being.”

This facility will replace The Views at St. Joseph’s, with all the residents of that facility moving in to Providence Living at The Views on July 8.

Providence Living tells CHEK News there are more development plans underway for the 13.92 acre (5.63 hectare) The Views at St. Joseph’s site to turn it into a “vibrant, mixed-use community.”

“To further bolster the community-focused LTC village, senior-centric facilities and services are planned to occupy the waterfront lands; this includes housing options for seniors, market housing, commercial spaces and retail areas,” Providence Living told CHEK News in an email.

The Views at St. Joseph’s originally opened in 1982 with 75 beds then had an addition of 50 beds built in 1993. A four-bed residential hospice unit was built in July 2015.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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