Seniors and low income housing group needs more members

The Thompson View Manor Society is always looking for new members with new ideas.

On Elm Street next to the Ashcroft RCMP Detachment and close to the hospital sits the Thompson View Manor and Thompson View Lodge. The Manor is a building that houses 15 low income rooms. The Lodge next door looks like a row of eight assisted-living units with doors exiting to the great outdoors.

Both are run by the Thompson View Manor Society, a volunteer board who signs agreements and spends the money needed to run the two services.

The Manor was built in the early 1970s as a place for local retirees, most of whom had worked for themselves and didn’t have a pension to fall back on.

TVMS chair Dave Gory says the Manor pretty much runs itself, under the guidance of a part time General Manager. He’s looking forward to having the mortgage paid off in two years.

Life was simple for the board when it only had the Manor to look after.

In 2004 the BC government announced that it was setting up assisted living units in a number of communities. They wanted to know why Ashcroft hadn’t made an application for units.

Board member Al Stott says it was a challenge to meet all of the requirements within the government’s timeframe, but they did it.

“We were told we were getting six units,” he said. “We wanted 20. Lytton didn’t want theirs  so we got two more. We could use 10 more units, easy.”

The province planned to build Lytton’s units out of town by the old airport because that’s where it owned property. The town argued that the seniors would be stuck in the middle of nowhere but the province wouldn’t budge.

The program was initially set up by InSite. The TVMS took over from them in December 2011.

“We’re still trying to figure out all the ins and outs,” says Gory. “It’s constantly changing with Interior Health and BC Housing, but in a small community, you work together to sort things out.”

He says there’s never a huge waiting list for the Manor, and none for the Lodge, athough any vacancy there is short-lived.

Stott says residents are staying in the Lodge longer instead of moving on to the extended care residence in the hospital. It’s their home, he says. It’s where their friends are.

“If someone dropped $2 million on us suddenly, we would definitely increase the Lodge,” he said.

Initially, the board asked to have the units attached to the hospital because of their kitchen service, but IH refused. The hospital has since lost its kitchen service. Meanwhile, residents at the Lodge enjoy a large central kitchen and dining area that provides two meals a day. As well, there are food preparation areas in each of the units.

Most of the board’s work is done on behalf of the Lodge. “Before the Lodge came, it was easy,” says Gory. “Once the Lodge came along the complexity just went through the roof.”

Dealing with staff and Interior Health makes for more bookkeeping and paper work.

“You gotta have bumps or you never get better,” says Stott, smiling. “We pray a lot that everhthing goes well.”

“Overall, we’re pleased to be able to do it,” says Gory. “We hope the Lodge keeps going as the lovely place that it is. It’s a super benefit for the area.”

As with all volunteer groups, the TVMS is always looking for new members. It’s a small committee right now, says Gory. “We need peple to breath life into the group, to take an interest when we have things going on. These facilities are important to the area, and we all want to keep them going.