After nearly a decade and more than one false start, work has recently begun on a seniors’ living facility in the Village of Clinton – bigger than originally planned.
The project, promised in 2017 for the former Clinton elementary school site, was initially for 10 beds, but on Sept. 20 — the day before Premier John Horgan called a snap election to be held on Oct. 24 — the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced that Clinton will get another 10 units of seniors housing. The recently announced project is one of seven around the province that will be funded by the Community Housing Fund.
“We are very happy to finally be breaking ground on an assisted/supportive housing facility for a 20-unit project that has been in the works for many years,” said Judy Hampton, chair of the Clinton and District Assisted Living Society.
Shovels were already in the ground to begin work on the first 10 units when the other 10 were announced, Hampton said. Since the equipment is already at the site, the hope is that work on all 20 units can be carried out at the same time.
“Kudos to the Clinton and District Assisted Living Society for hanging in there for so long,” said Clinton Mayor Susan Swan. “It’s because of their dedication and perseverance that this is finally happening.”
The initiative to get affordable seniors’ housing built in Clinton began in 2011, leading to the formation of the Clinton and District Assisted Living Society two years later. The Society submitted a 160-page report regarding the “Clinton Supportive Seniors Project” to BC Housing, containing full details of the proposed facility and its wish to locate it on the school site at 300 Smith Ave. The school closed in June 2010.
In May 2017, Liberal Housing Minister Rich Coleman announced the provincial Liberal government would commit $2.9 million to construct the 10-unit living facility, which would serve seniors in Clinton and surrounding areas, including Loon Lake, 70 Mile, Green Lake, Canoe Creek, Dog Creek, Cache Creek, and Ashcroft.
Although the school was demolished a month later, the project was put on hold after the Liberals were relegated to Opposition status in the provincial election. Last December, Clinton council approved the rezoning of the former school from P1 (Public and Institutional) to R2 (Large Lot Residential). A development permit was issued in February this year to start the construction of the seniors’ facility.
“I’ve already had a phone call from someone in Cache Creek asking ‘How do I get on the list?’” said Swan. “This will be huge for our senior population. They will be able to age in place in their own community, and that will benefit them and their families.
“Our preliminary housing needs assessment showed that 35 percent of Clinton’s population in 2016 was over the age of 65, so that reinforces the need for this type of housing.”