Courtenay council is in the process of considering a rezoning to allow construction of a seniors facility at 925 Braidwood Rd., between the RCMP building and the Prime Restaurant. Pending final reading, the Atrium at Braidwood will include a mix of independent, assisted and memory care units.
The proposed five-storey building will contain 161 suites, 14 of which would be memory care studios.
“We think it’s a gentler term than dementia or Alzheimer’s,” said Bob Armeneau, president of the Courtenay Braidwood General Partnership, a joint venture between Sussex Retirement Living and Altiveris Developments. “It’s a secure unit. If those residents are a danger to themselves, if they wander away, it’s a completely secure environment, internally and externally.”
The design includes a public path and a wandering garden for memory care residents.
Monthly rental rates would be comparable to Berwick Comox Valley, which charges $3,165 to $4,025 for a one bedroom suite, said general manager Paul Vieira. Rent includes three meals per day, weekly housekeeping and other services.
“We intend on being competitive in the market,” Armeneau said.
At a public hearing Tuesday, 16th Street resident Fred Muzin criticized council for appeasing developers.
“Encouraging private development detracts further from the potential land inventory for social community projects,” said Muzin, who feels the proposal is private health care. “Profit should not be made off of the backs of seniors who are having difficulty coping with aging.”
Three area residents who spoke in favour of the project also have a few concerns, such as traffic and privacy. Sandwick Road resident Kim Sleno asked for a two-metre fence between her property and the facility.
“What we’re concerned about is the throughway going from Braidwood down to Ryan Road that impacts the privacy and security of our properties,” said Braidwood Road resident Larry Taylor, noting people who cut through the property jump over fences.
Ian Buck, the City’s director of development services, said the restaurant had the same concern about people cutting through the property.
“That pedestrian traffic has moved over to this lot because it’s not fenced,” Buck said. “From a pedestrian connectivity point of view, there’s a lot of density on Braidwood Road.”
A sidewalk extension would allow pedestrian connection to Ryan Road and to the lighted intersection, Buck added.
Council will consider third reading at a future meeting.