It seemed clear to us that building the Slocan Affordable Seniors’ Housing Project would be a natural extension of the Slocan Valley Seniors Housing Society’s work of the past 20 years. We all felt that the time was right for us to expand the severely limited housing stock in the area, where only 20 housing units geared to seniors under-serve a significant seniors population in dire need. Having said this, we wanted to be sure of the need and demand for Seniors’ Housing before making such a significant investment of our time and donations from our financial supporters. Simply speaking we wanted a business plan that was based on fact and was achievable. To this end we commissioned a “Need and Demand Study” by housing professional Ann Harvey supplemented with community meetings and a very successful and widespread survey of seniors.” These were followed up with further community consultations and public meetings.
We have done our due diligence and it’s time to mobilize and make this dream a reality.
We have the full support of the Village of Slocan. We have a skilled and able board of 12 volunteers who have worked flat out over the past 2-1/2 years on this project, designing, fundraising for preliminary stages, doing all the organizational work required, and at the same time operating Passmore Lodge. Four of our board members were founding members of the Society, bringing with them all the history and skills attained when we built Passmore Lodge, and all our board members are skilled and deeply connected in this diverse community.
Everything about this project is imbued with the specific needs of this group of seniors, and the design of the units is innovative and exceeds Leeds Gold standards. The project is an example of extremely affordable, sustainable housing that we would like to share with other rural communities and we welcome the opportunity to do so.
When we built Passmore Lodge, we united our valley along cultural and geographic lines to raise funds and build a remarkable facility. We are doing this again as we work toward building 12 units of safe, affordable housing in the heart of the Village of Slocan.
The community is ready and willing. This community support has resulted in successful fundraising for all the preliminary stages. Professionals are donating hundreds of hours in planning and designing. Already, our Hike for Housing, even in the preliminary planning, has won the support of former MLA Corky Evans, who hopes to keep up with our 91-year-old seasoned hiker, Lydia Kania, who raised $11,000 personally when we held our first hike 19 years ago. Imagine the fun that will be!
We have the support of Area H RDCK director Walter Popoff, South Okanagan West Kootenay MP Dick Cannings, MLA Katrine Conroy, the councils and mayors of all villages in the Slocan Valley, and all our local funders, including RDCK Area H, the Village of Slocan, the Columbia Basin Trust, Slocan Valley Community Legacy Society, Heritage Credit Union, Slocan Legion Branch #276, and the Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission. The Village of Slocan is a dedicated partner, contributing land, funding, and energy the project.
But more than anything, we want to build in Slocan because we want to keep our seniors here in the Valley, or bring them back to reunite with friends, family and community. A community is never complete without its storytellers, with their wisdom and sheer ability to inspire and coach the younger ones. The young people need seniors to provide stability and approval as they become the organizers and the ones to carry on the work in our communities. And the seniors who have built this community deserve the honour and right to continue belonging.