C Hayward

Seniors housing units ready for occupants

Terrace, B.C. project required much cooperation and effort

Lena Penner and her husband are just two of the seniors ready to move into the just-completed addition to the Terrace Senior Citizens Residence on Tuck Ave. in the horseshoe.

“This’ll be my husband and I,” said Penner gesturing to one of the five new units which will be their home.

She’s looking forward to getting the “drapes in, pictures on the wall,” when they move, relocating from a Thornhill mobile home in part because of health reasons.

Penner’s also looking forward to being neighbours with two friends, C Hayward and Fran Ruchofzke, who have lived in the complex for years and who enjoy the quiet dead end street and gardening plots.

The five new one-bedroom units bring the complex’s total to 23, and the new addition is being touted as an example of what can happen when a community gathers to help those less fortunate.

The project was “out of our reach until the community rallied around and came together,” said Terrace & District Christian Council for Social Resources secretary treasurer Lowell Holmquist at the building’s official opening Oct. 15.

Coming in under budget and ahead of schedule (at $300,000, “lower than our lowest estimate”), the project owes much of its success to contractor John Van De Velde, he said.

“If it wasn’t for John’s push this wouldn’t have happened,” said Holmquist.

The addition was first proposed several years ago and received a planning boost through David Block, the city’s development services director, who was able to secure some money from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

But when a bid to secure construction money from BC Housing, the province’s housing agency, fell through, Holmquist credited Van De Velde with lining up donations of reduced cost services.

Ground broke on the project in April, 2013, even though money to pay for the project was uncertain until just a month before that, he said.

Holmquist thanked “the graciousness of the trades not getting paid at the exact time the cheques were written.”

The project also received a $60,000 injection after the Terrace Christ Lutheran church after the congregation sold its building.

Even a tour of the construction site by youngsters from the Terrace Christian Reformed Church resulted in a donation – $360, enough to buy the nails that went into the project.

Holmquist added the project works with the city’s goal of encouraging more affordable housing units, stating that “the mandate and desire of the city meshed together very well” with the project.

With the additional construction, the senior’s complex now contains 23 units over six buildings – 14 bachelor and nine one-bedroom places.

The bachelor units are approximately 340 square feet, and the one bedroom units are approximately 520 square feet.

The layout of the units is simple and open with large windows in the living area that open onto lawns and gardens and a front and back door to let in fresh air when the weather is nice.