With the land in hand, the Cowichan Lake Elder Care Society is moving forward with its ambitious plans to build a seniors’ care facility in Lake Cowichan.
Society member Don Beldessi said a recent meeting with M’akola Development Services, a consulting firm specializing in housing and community development, has proven productive.
He said the society is now fundraising to come up with $5,000 as a retainer to hire M’akola as project consultants.
“M’akola is a well-respected and successful developer of various forms of social housing for BC Housing and non-profit housing societies in the province,” Beldessi said.
“They would get the whole package together for us, including the planning and dealing with architects and the town. They would also open the door for funding for the project because they know exactly what must be done to get federal and provincial money.”
Beldessi said once M’akola is on retainer, the company will apply for available seed funding grants from BC Housing and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to raise approximately $200,000 to begin moving the project, which he estimates could be in the range of $3 million when completed, forward.
“The amount of money available for projects like this out there right now is unbelievable,” he said.
“This project will come at no financial cost to the town, and we’ll also be approaching corporations and members of the community for support. If the community wants this project, we will get it going.”
Beldessi said the goal is to have all the ducks in a row with shovels ready to hit the ground to start the project in 18 months.
Anyone wanting to help with the fundraising can donate at the Island Savings Credit Union, account #2695328, or at Evergreen Place between 9 a.m. and noon on working days.
The Town of Lake Cowichan has already donated the land for the project, which is located beside the public library.
A lot of interest in the project, which could see approximately 30 assisted living units constructed, although nothing is firm at this point, was generated at a meeting on the subject of attainable housing, held at the Riverside Inn in Lake Cowichan in late February.
At that meeting, society member Bob Day said there is a demographic at Lake Cowichan who support an elder-care facility, and many area residents are dedicated to the idea of “aging in place”.