There is a build-it-and-they-will-come hope that if the Inglewood re-development project moves ahead, Vancouver Coastal Health will step in to provide more beds.
On Monday night, District of West Vancouver council voted unanimously to allow Baptist Housing’s 699-unit redevelopment project on the Inglewood Care Centre property to move into the public consultation phase. During the discussion, several councillors expressed concerns that the city is at risk of losing seniors care beds at two other aging facilities in West Vancouver.
Councillors pressed Baptist Housing and B.C. Housing to lobby Vancouver Coastal Health for more publicly funded beds.
“I’m hearing from residents that they want more publicly funded beds in community and this is the place to put them,” said councillor Craig Cameron.
“We have a site with incredible opportunity and I would like to exhaust every opportunity to build on those numbers of publicly assisted long-term care on that site. The same thing with assisted housing,” said councillor Peter Lambur.
Howard Johnson, the president and CEO of Baptist Housing, said they understand those needs and pressures on West Vancouver seniors to find a continuum of care in their own community. However, he said, Baptist Housing is “not privy” to the health authority’s future planning. It has sought their view on providing more publicly funded care beds but “they’ve given us no indication they’re moving forward with any request for proposal process to award any more beds.”
Councillor Bill Soprovich noted Inglewood’s “magnificent setting” but said “all the trappings don’t mean anything if we can’t deliver more than 230 beds for long-term care.”
He asked of if B.C. Housing could have any influence over VCH’s decisions.
“We’re certainly looking to optimize the opportunity here,” Michael Flanigan, B.C. Housing’s vice-president of development and asset strategies, said. “If we build the extra capacity into the project, my view is VCH will want to take those beds in the future for government beds and will be darned glad in hindsight that we have that capacity. This is the time to make those strategic, long-term discussions.”
Baptist Housing will host public information meetings on Tues., Oct. 6 and Thurs., Nov. 5 next door at Har El, The North Shore Centre for Jewish Life at 1305 Taylor Way. A virtual public information meeting is also being organized for Thurs., October 29. Details for each session will also be available at baptisthousing.org/inglewoodredevelopment.
Martha Perkins is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.