“Please complete your Seniors’ Housing Survey!”
That’s the message the board of the Slocan Valley Seniors’ Housing Society wants to get out to past and present valley residents this month.
The society has its eye on an attractive piece of ground in Slocan for seniors’ independent living. It’s been offered to the group on a 40-year lease for a dollar a year.
“We have professionals willing to donate design services, and we have a public keen to raise funds,” says the society’s president Rita Moir. “But first we need to prove there is a demand, and that is the purpose of the survey.”
The survey is attached and downloadable below. The deadline is April 7.
The proposed housing would be right next to the new wellness centre which has a nurse practitioner, a library and fitness facility.
Ninety-year old Lydia Kania thinks the location is ideal.
“That place is perfect for seniors,” she says. “The ground is level, it has all the amenities that a senior would need, there is a nurse practitioner nearby, for walking it has the lakeside, and the scenery is fantastic. I don’t know what more you could wish for.”
Kania was one of the original members of the housing society, which put on a huge fundraising campaign to build Passmore Lodge in the late 1990s. That 10-unit facility currently has a waiting list of 12, according to Moir.
Fundraising for the Slocan facility will be more difficult than at Passmore Lodge, she says, because in the meantime the federal and provincial governments have abandoned their funding programs for such projects.
“We are looking for the survey to be filled out by people 50-plus,” Moir says, “or people who have parents who live further away and would like to come back to the valley.
“This is for seniors, but it is independent living,” she says. “Like anybody living in their own home, they can of course have home support services, but there will be no assistance provided.”
Moir says that for people wanting to downsize, the facility would provide an alternative to moving to Nelson or some other place with a high cost of living. She extolls the advantages of Slocan.
“It is a town in transition, with some really great stuff happening. With the mill down and gone now, the look of Slocan has really changed. Young people are moving there because it is affordable. It is a real going concern.”
During the fundraising campaign for Passmore Lodge nearly 20 years ago, Kania walked a nine-day, 236 km fundraising hike from Passmore through Nelson, Kaslo, New Denver, and back to Passmore, and personally raised $8,000.
Asked if she is planning lead a similar hike for the new project, she laughs. “Somebody said that because of my age and how I was involved last time, I should get $100 a kilometer.
“I’ll get myself organized here and start walking every day, and see how it goes.”
This article was updated on March 25 to delete an incorrect statement that Lydia Kania was the only one to complete the fundraising walk. There were others who finished it as well.