At a recent council meeting, Sooke Council approved the concept of an Elders Complex development, proposed by the Sooke Region Communities Health Network (SRCHN). The plan is to place it on the Northeast quadrant of Lot A. The intention is to include youth programming. SRCHN will be working with the existing (homeless) Sooke Seniors Drop-in Centre and various youth groups to determine what programming needs are required.
In addition to senior and youth programming, the facility will include 76 “affordable” housing rental units for seniors 55 and older. Note that “affordable” is frequently a term applied to rates in comparison to the existing market.
“The proposed elders complex is much more than a building constructed to the highest standards to house seniors with space for recreation, said Don Brown, representing the Elders Complex Project Team. “Together in partnership, the District of Sooke, the Sooke Region Communities Health Network [SRCHN] and the Seniors Drop-In Society, [we] have the unique opportunity to create an affordable community living environment for elders to have meaningful, vibrant lives, maintaining their independence and enjoying the involvement of youth and others to enrich their lives for generations to come.”
He added that the central location of Lot A (on Wadams Way) provides for easy access to shops and services in town, to the pending neighbouring library and bus service planned for Wadams Way.
Background: Sooke has been without Senior’s Centre for a decade
Sooke has been without a senior’s centre since 2010. In 2017, Carol Pinalsky, president of Sooke Senior Drop In Centre requested for approval in principle for a 4000-5000 sq foot centre on Lot A, so they can proceed to request various grants and begin fundraising. See Push for Senior Centre continues. In a letter earlier that year, Pinalsky wrote a earlier letter asking that the seniors’ drop in centre be built “before we all drop dead.”
In 2018, Council voted unanimously to support the Sooke Seniors Project on Lot A to commit in principle the entire already-existing reserve fund for the Sooke Seniors’ Drop in Centre (then, $252,577.53). See Senior Centre gets support in principle from the District of Sooke.
From the District’s release: Carol Pinalski, President of the Sooke Seniors Drop-in Centre Society is quoted as saying, “We have been working on a home for the seniors drop-in centre for over 10 years. We are looking forward to putting a shovel in the ground.”
Regarding the September 14, 2020 project approval in principle, no timelines or construction plans were made available to SPN.
Again from the District press release, “The estimated 22 Million-dollar project will be primarily funded through the Federal/Provincial Infrastructure grant, the BC Housing corporation, and community fund-raising. Funds are designated for this project from the Sooke Seniors Drop-in Society and gaming funds.” The release also notes that “no contractual commitments will be made until the necessary funding is in place.”
The planning is underway, and the district promises that youth, seniors and members of the Sooke community will be consulted and have ample opportunity to engage. SRCHN has a long history of engaging with and advocating for the senior community in Sooke.