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Self-direction continues for seniors’ residence

Rota Villa has been operating since the 1960s. - Jim Sinclair
Rota Villa has been operating since the 1960s.
— image credit: Jim Sinclair

The situation at Castlegar’s Rota Villa seniors’ housing facility on 11th Street may be described as positive. The society begun by local Rotarians in the 1960s it was in the news last year due to a question over its administration. There seemed to be a shortage of energy and interest in steering the society’s affairs.

Operated by a locally-based board from the outset, the option of a society takeover by BC Housing had been pitched because of board membership uncertainty. At one point last year a vote was held and a 64 per cent majority chose BC Housing guidance but the required majority was 75 per cent.

A revitalization has occurred and a new board was elected. It appears life and business have gone on well since then.

Folks who favour the local running of the residence for low-income seniors have reason to feel pleased with the current set-up. Spokesperson Elmer Williams gave a partial explanation why on June 30.

“A new board stepped in last year,” he explained, “and said, ‘No, we’re going to keep it the way it is, take it over and run it.’”

This year’s annual general meeting has been held and was apparently very successful.

Williams, with a good deal of his own experience as a landlord, saluted previous boards for their commitment on the society’s behalf, while also empathizing with the situation it was in after a number of years. For instance, Brian Brady who had done much society work stepped aside last year, with others, making way for a new board.

The current board of the RotaVilla Society consists of: Elmer Williams, Marian LaBrie, Marsha Carew, Joan Hall and Bev Williams.

These directors were elected by acclamation at the AGM and will sit on the board this year. Board members were not linked with specific positions as yet.

“It’s back as a non-profit society,” said Elmer Williams who went on to describe his own involvement.

“A few years back there was a dispute that I helped a tenant with,” he recalled. “Then I started seeing what was going on and I could never figure out why they were saying they had such high vacancy rates.” But Williams expressed the opinion that it was the case of a worn out board… tired of getting little or no support that was at the root of the malaise. He now sees the fresh wave of recent volunteer support as essential in the current operation.

“I’m pretty excited about the direction we’re going,” he stated.

Another nod was given to the predecessors. “Mr. Brady had been on the board, ran it, and did admirably for a long time,” said Williams. “I think he did an incredible job.” For whatever reason there was an apparent low point in volunteerism leading the current renaissance.

For his part, Brian Brady has moved on but has no regrets about his input which he says spanned a good deal more than 15 years. He is happy for the way the society appears to be headed.

“It was fulfilling to keep the residents looked after while also keeping an eye on the business end of things,” said Brady on July 1.

“We’re not out of the woods,” Williams related, “but we held status quo and we’ve got the boat going the right way we want good quality low-income housing for our seniors at Rota Villa”.

Elmer Williams concluded by listing an updating of the language in the society’s constitution, as well as an invitation to local service clubs to be involved in the running of the residence, as items on the society’s to-do list.

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