74 more seniors care beds eyed for West Vancouver

West Vancouver’s Inglewood Care Centre is looking to expand, adding another 74 beds for seniors in care.

District of West Vancouver council got their first look at the proposal Monday night and voted to kick off public consultations.

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If approved, the project by Unicare Management would rezone two existing single-family homes on adjacent lots, at 721 and 733 Burley Dr., adding about 48,000 square feet or 25 per cent more capacity to Inglewood.

The expansion would also add a new driveway to the site via Burley Drive and eliminate one of the driveways from Inglewood Avenue.

Residences in the new unit, all of which would be publicly funded by Vancouver Coastal Health and administered on contract by Unicare, would be organized into small “neighbourhoods” with shared dining and social areas and 14 private bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. The neighbourhood design is the current practice in care homes as it helps prevent overstimulation for seniors with dementia.

“We have deliberately designed a building that the residents will be proud to call home – one that doesn’t look like an institution and more like the type of home that most people live in when not in care,” said Nick Whittle, administrator at Inglewood.

It will also be nicer for the neighbours to look at than the current parking lot, Whittle added.

The 230-bed care home has been growing incrementally since it opened in the 1960s.

Vancouver Coastal Health recently released a request for proposal for service providers for 146 beds on the North Shore. Currently, the wait list to get into the extended care facility is six months to a year, according to Whittle.

Citing some foreseeable concerns from surrounding homeowners, like the loss of views, Coun. Craig Cameron said he expected a robust public process.

“Just really making sure the immediate neighbours know what’s coming and that we do what we can to mitigate the effects before we bring the proposal back,” he said. “It may be there are some effects we can’t mitigate and we have to consider the project on its merits, but that should be the objective. I’d love to see a proposal like this come forward with neighbourhood approval, and failing that, at least no neighbourhood opposition.”

Coun. Mary-Ann Booth spoke warmly of the proposal.

“This is a step in the right direction and it looks like your plan is to revitalize, starting with this front bit. I support his wholeheartedly. We talk about seniors housing and the great need, especially for those that have significant physical and mental frailties and this is seniors housing at a location that has had seniors housing for over 50 years,” she said.

Council voted unanimously to send the project for consultation, which will include feedback from the neighbourhood, the district’s design review committee and North Shore advisory committee on disability issues.

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