Close to opening it doors

Quadra Island Seniors Housing Project close to opening its doors

After almost a year of delays. the Quadra Island Seniors Housing Project is close to opening.

The 16 unit building, beside Q-Cove Plaza in Quathiaski Cove, was almost ready last Spring. 

Illustration taken from the SRD Staff Report sent to the Strathcona Regional District on Jan 3, 2018.

Close to opening their doors

According to Maureen McDowell, President of the Quadra Island Seniors Housing Society (QISHS), “We have had the tragedy, really, of not being able to let our seniors move into the building because it is uninhabitable without a water system. They have been waiting, amazingly patiently, for a year now and will finally be able to move in later this Spring – we hope.” 

Everything was proceeding well until the COVID pandemic reached British Columbia. The project’s prefabricated modules were in place; the roof was on. 

“Throughout most of March, we were trying to figure out how the workers could come back,” said McDowell. 

Instead of early Spring, Telus and BC Hydro brought the building online in July.

“The building is totally finished inside. It needs to be cleaned and we can’t do that without a running water system. The system itself has to be purified and tested. When BC Housing approves that the water tests are good, they will issue us a permit to operate a water system and then we can move the tenants in,” said McDowell. 

Rear view, Quadra Island Seniors Housing Project
A view of the back – courtesy Quadra Island Senior Housing Society

16 units at 688 Harper Road

One of the sixteen 573 square foot units is to be occupied by the caretaker. 

The others are to be rented out. 

In February 2020, McDowell told Cortes Currents, “ … The seniors we have selected for living in this facility have been living in very inadequate conditions for the health problems they have. There are mobility issues. Some don’t have access to running water or proper heat. They are living in cabins that are not designed for winter, or in trailers or their vans.”

Every unit has a full kitchen, for those who wish to cook.

According to the society’s website

“A communal kitchen, common dining area and living room will be incorporated into the building’s design, encouraging the sharing of meals and activities. All suites will have shower bathrooms with accessibility features, and a tub bath will be available for assisted bathing. Multipurpose rooms are an important part of the building plan.

Now that the building is close to opening, members of the surrounding community are donating furniture for the common areas and tenants who need items for their suites. 

Another $100,000

The housing society is trying to raise another $100,000 by March 30, 2021.

“These are things that we had to throw out of our budget in order to get construction going in the first place. A lot can be built later, in terms of people being able to move in,” said McDowell. 

  • A boardwalk over the pond spillway to enable all local residents to safely walk into the Cove for groceries, mail, doctor visits, prescriptions and other services.
  • A bridge to link the original Seniors Housing on O’Connor with the new building 
  • A communal walk-in tub so our Quadra seniors have access to safe bathing
  • Microwaves in each unit to enable seniors to reheat meals efficiently
  • Raised garden beds so residents can get their hands in the earth and continue their tradition of growing some of their own food; 
  • a garden shed to store tools; 
  • privacy screens between the patios. Most residents will not have lived in such close proximity to others and we wish to support an easy transition into community living

“We also need a back-up propane tank for emergency power outages. We can live without that for awhile because we are heading into summer, but that is a fund raising need,” said McDowell. 

She also mentioned the possibility of offering people in need a warm refuge in the senior’s building, during the island’s periodic power failures. 

Quadra Island Seniors Housing Project is close to opening its doors.
Pathway in the rear of the building – courtesy Quadra Island Senior Housing Society

Origins of the housing project 

This project grew out of a need that Quadra Circles identified in 2014/15.  

“Stable rental housing is pretty much impossible to find, especially for seniors, or people with low income. We also identified broader needs, such as young families, Single people, workers, can’t find housing so their employment is a problem,” said McDowell.

Cortes Island architect David Rousseau was involved in the preliminary visioning exercises

The decision to focus on seniors was made in 2016.

Close to opening its doors
Close to opening its doors – courtesy Quadra Island Senior Housing project

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative

Top photo credit: courtesy Quadra Island Seniors Housing project