The Evergreen Acres Senior Housing Society (EASHS) held the sod turning for its expansion project, with representatives from EASHS, local dignitaries and Selina Robinson, Minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing, all picking up shovels for the occasion.
Despite cold rain, a large crowd showed up for the Nov. 15 event, which began with a blessing of the land from Mona Jules and Margaret Joseph of Simpcw First Nation.
Upon completion, the expanded facility will offer 20 new rental homes for seniors in need of housing that will be close to public transit, the nearby medical clinic, and the shopping centre.
Robinson touched on the importance of seniors being able to afford to stay in their home communities.
“We all need to do our part to make sure people can find a home that meets their needs, and that they can afford, in the community where they have connections, relationships and where they’ve had a life,” she said.
“With these new homes, seniors in Clearwater will have the opportunity that everyone deserves — to stay in their community, close to their friends and family, close to the community that makes this a home.”
The Province’s Building BC: Community Housing Fund is pitching in $2 million toward the expansion.
Other major funding partners include the Wells Gray Community Forest Society, which donated $1,050,000, and the District of Clearwater, which contributed about $80,000 through in-kind donations for development fees.
Evergreen Acres has three buildings that make up its current facility, with the main building having been built in 1977 and holding 16 rental units. The second building, constructed in 1983, holds six units and the newest addition, built in 2010, has 10 rental spaces, adding up to a total of 32 units for seniors to rent.
When the project is finished priority for the 20 new units will be given to potential senior occupants between a loose boundary of Blue River and Little Fort, followed by people beyond that boundary who might have relatives close by, so they can be closer to family.
Documents previously provided by the District of Clearwater (DOC) showed a strong need for more seniors housing facilities in the North Thompson, which came from a study done from McBride to Mclure, looking at several different aspects of seniors living within the area.
The Province’s Building BC: Community Housing Fund is a $1.9-billion investment over 10 years, and will build more than 14,000 affordable rental homes for seniors, families and low- and middle-income earners, with many to include childcare.