In an update provided to Comox council, Providence Living’s transformation of The Views, which will include a ‘dementia village’ component is still on track to be open next summer on budget.
Mark Blandford, CEO and president of the organization told council at the April 19 meeting they are starting work on the master plan for the $60.5 million dollar project at the former St. Joesph’s Hospital site on Comox Avenue in the town.
The care facility will have 156 beds and four respite beds and is set to provide a different - social - model of care for the aging population and those living with dementia.
The project is financed through BC Housing with a 25-year operating agreement with Island Health to fund the mortgage.
Part of the site development plan is to create “a vibrant community that complements the core long-term care anchor tenant,” added Scott McCarten, vice-president of capital projects and business development for Providence Living.
“It will be focused on seniors to include a mix of market, independent living and other senior supportive housing options.”
Site preparation has already begun with the demolition of the former emergency room in December 2021, and the site broke ground in spring 2022.
Comox Mayor Nicole Minions inquired about the timeline for the site plan.
McCarten explained the goal is to have it completed by the summer, with long-term care added to the rest of the site as an aging-in-place option.
Coun. Jenn Meilleur inquired about wait lists for the facility; Blandford noted Providence doesn’t manage wait lists as it falls under the purview of Island Health, but added he expects the facility to be full right away.
Former Providence CEO Candace Chartier told the Record in a December 2021 interview that residents at The Views will get priority tenancy once the new facility opens. At that time there were 156 residents at The Views.
As for attracting staff to the facility, Coun. Jonathan Kerr noted affordable housing is an issue that could be a roadblock for potential employees.
“We’re attracting staff,” replied Blandford. “We are short some nurses, but in every other area, we’re full staff. We think staff housing has to be a part of our development.”
He added co-op or community housing are options that they could consider as part of the larger plan.