Legion considers building seniors complex

The Ashcroft Branch of the RCL is looking into building a new seniors housing complex in Ashcroft that will also house a new Legion.

The Ashcroft Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is looking into building a seniors complex on the property in Ashcroft.

A decision to go ahead with the study was approved unanimously on Monday night by 47 Legion members.

That’s a big turnout for a normal meeting, said member Paul Whitehead, who is now chair of the commiittee overseeing the project.

Whitehead said there were questions at the meeting. People were asking, how many units? Would they be one-bedroom or two? Would there be assisted living units? Would it be for Legion members only?

He said there are questions that they need to ask as well. The next step is to have a study done to determine demographics of the area, and for that, they can access a CMHC grant of up to $20,000.

Once you find out what you need, you get a design done, said Whitehead. Tthen go to the financing stage and find out if you can afford it.

He said the Royal Canadian Legion began building these in 2000. Since then, they’ve built 7,700 units across Canada, and half of them are in BC.

The units would be licensed by the Interior Health Authority, but these would be run independently, by the Legion.

“I’ve been chewing on it for two years,” said Whitehead, whose father lived in two different assisted living homes. The RCL already has a process in place, he said, and can help the local committee through most of the details.

He said he envisions a four-storey building, which is the highest permitted in downtown Ashcroft – a building of 3,500 square feet with a new Legion in it. It would have about 40 units of one and two bedrooms, some assisted living, but mostly just 55 years and older, with maybe an underground parking garage.

“But those are just my thoughts,” he adds.

“It’s a shame that people have to leave the area when their house becomes too much for them,” Whitehead said.

He’s hoping that they’ll have a complex up and running in three years at the latest, but he admits that may be optimistic.

The Legion owns the property it sits on as well as the parking lot next to it, the skateboard park and the parking lot behind the Coppervalley Cable building.