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Two Sicamous nonprofits work together to improve affordable seniors’ living situation

Road Rescuers volunteer time and tools to revamp Haven unit; seniors’ housing plans moving forward

Two Sicamous non-profits are working together to ensure seniors in the community have adequate housing.

Eagle Valley Road Rescue volunteers gave their time and shared their tools on Saturday, Feb. 4, to help with demolition in one of the units at The Haven seniors’ housing complex in Sicamous.

Built in 1974, The Haven is an affordable housing solution for seniors, costing only a small percentage of residents’ gross monthly income. The one bedroom unit being renovated previously cost $420 a month, and with renovations the cost will be $800 monthly, including cable, heat, and water services. The Haven is a 55+ complex managed by the Eagle Valley Senior Citizen Housing Society, which is graciously accepting the help from Road Rescue volunteers to minimize costs as it upgrades the outdated housing units.

Kelly Hesleton is president of the Eagle Valley Senior Citizens’ Housing Society (EVSCHS) and is also the secretary/treasurer on the Eagle Valley Road Rescue board. She organized the road rescue volunteers to complete the demolition on the Haven unit before its next occupant moves in later this month. The unit will get new flooring, fresh paint, and other small details and isn’t undergoing a huge renovation as the society only hopes to have people living at The Haven for a few more years before moving its residents, and the 35 people on a waiting list, into a new housing complex.

READ MORE: Affordable housing working group formed in Sicamous to speed up projects

“We’re not spending a lot of money, just making it livable for the next hopefully four, maybe up to seven years,” Hesleton said.

The society’s partners, BC Housing, the District of Sicamous (DOS) and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) are working to develop a new seniors’ housing solution. The DOS has set aside land for a new 36-unit housing development behind The Haven, and the society has had the grant since 2019. The society partnered with a new development consultant in December after not seeing adequate progress on the project in the years since attaining the grant, and the land is ready to be developed once a contract is signed, said Hesleton.

Phase 2 of the housing plan involves clearing land bordering The Manor, a fully assisted-living complex, operated by Interior Health on land that is owned by the Housing Society. The available land is slightly northeast of The Haven and is the society’s next step after the district-donated land is developed.

The district and the society have a memorandum of understanding with Questview Apartments next to the land to create a safe and maintained access point off of Main Street so that Gordon Mackie Lane won’t become a busy main access for the new residences.

“The work we’re doing here, it’s a collaborative piece of community with the volunteers,” said Hesleton of the non-profits working together and the road rescue volunteers’ recognition and help. “We need that vibrancy in a small town. There’s a natural synergy there.”

READ MORE: Sicamous property owner looking to replace retaining wall bordering public marina


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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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