Grand opening of Heritage Manor III affordable seniors' housing

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm says the additional seniors' housing responds to a large demand in our area.

"We definitely have a large need for seniors' housing," he says. "We know that seniors' housing and low-cost housing is going to be a big problem in the coming and this is one step in helping getting us to that direction."

He adds the Peace Villa Residential Care Facility at the new hospital is another part of working towards a solution, with 124 units.

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Heritage Manor III was built at 9804 106th Avenue, land provided by the City of Fort St. John, an investment valued at approximately $313,000. The federal government provided $594,000 under Canada's Economic Action Plan – Housing for low-income seniors and housing for persons with disabilities. The province rounded it out with over $947,000 out of the Seniors' Rental Housing Initiative, to develop approximately 1,300 new affordable housing units for seniors across the province.

"I think every dollar you spend on seniors' housing is worth it, in my opinion," says Pimm. "It's a big need across the province, certainly with all the baby boomers coming of age, it's going to be something that we're going to need an awful lot of."

The Fort St. John project uses modular homes that are designed to be easily accessible for seniors and people with disabilities. That includes features like rooms large enough to allow for wheelchair maneuvering, shelves and light switches at an accessible height, and bathroom grab bars or step-in showers.

The next step in affordable seniors' housing in Fort St. John is the Seniors Society creating units in the now vacant old care home, although those will be apartment-style, and not assisted-living. It's expected those units will be available in early 2013.

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