Andy and Yvette May write: “Persons who have gone above and beyond in the past year? Yvette and I would like to nominate Judy Hampton. Judy has been the driving force behind the Clinton Creek Estates project for almost a decade. Chair of the Clinton and District Assisted Living Society, Judy has guided her team through years of negotiations with government agencies, with interminable paperwork, and a multi-million-dollar construction project. And now, as we approach the magic day that the first tenants move in, Judy is dealing with staffing and prospective tenants. Always positive, always smiling. That’s our Judy!”
It has been a very long time coming, but the finish line is in sight for Clinton’s supportive housing units. Judy Hampton has been there for every step of the journey over the last decade, and while she acknowledges that the facility will be a great thing for the community, there have been a lot of ups and downs along the road.
“I did it because my mom had to go to Thompson View in Ashcroft,” she says of her decision to pursue a seniors’ living facility in Clinton. “They treated her like family, but I wanted to see something like it in Clinton.
“Government is so far behind in providing facilities for seniors, and I believe that seniors in rural areas especially should have all the necessities in their own communities, where they grew up and where their families are. They worked hard their whole lives, and never had jobs with big paycheques or benefits or pensions, and then they have to go away to another community and have family travel to see them. It’s not right. We should have that in small rural communities.”
Hampton says that it was a grind, dealing with the school district and the provincial government. “Everything took 10 times longer than it should have to get things started and get things done. But if someone tells me I can’t do it, I’ll prove them wrong and I’ll make it happen. The disappointments made me fight harder.”
Just before the provincial election in 2017, the B.C. Liberal government announced that it would be providing $3 million for a 10-unit facility. “That was so exciting, and I thought things were going to happen,” says Hampton. Instead, there was a change in government, and everything came to a halt for three years.
“We should have been building a year ago, in May. Then we got the okay in September 2020 and were all ready with people on site, and it got cancelled again. So last year was a bit of a nightmare, with ups and downs, but we kept rolling along.”
One of the “ups” was finding that the scope of the project had been changed from 10 to 20 units. Each resident has their own apartment, with cleaning and meals provided.
“They’ll be in a safe site, and the building looks beautiful,” says Hampton. “The crew and contractor have done a tremendous job, and we used as many local area workers as we could get.”
The “hire local” ethos has extended to the staff for the site. “We have most people hired. They all have skill sets that allow them to do more than one job, so that’s how we’re going to make it through. We really lucked out that the people who applied and who we’ve hired so far have that sort of skill set and a willingness to cover what’s needed. That was a terrible worry we had, so we’re very excited.”
Opening day is set for Nov. 1, and Hampton says there is still a lot of work to do.
“The last month has been really busy, and it will get worse until we get people in there. We’ve been working on it for many years, but there’s still a lot of work to do.
“We have a great team,” she continues. “We’ve all worked together for a good 10 years. Zee [Chevalier] has been my right hand man, and I couldn’t have done this without her help.
“It’s a great thing for our community, for employment, and for seniors to have this facility in the community and not have to leave. But the finish line isn’t here until I see the paving done and the siding up and am rolling someone in the door. Until that day comes I won’t know how I’ll feel, but I’ll be glad when we put our first person in there.”