Qualicum Beach Coun. Neil Horner says the Berwick Retirement Communities’ facility in Qualicum Beach could be a big real estate machine for the community.
The proposed Berwick facility was the subject of Wednesday’s committee of the whole meeting. The proposal was also scheduled to be in front of council at its regular meeting alst night.
Horner said he had an understanding that a large amount of people who move into the exisiting Berwick Retirement Communities in other towns and cities already live in the surrounding areas.
“If and when Berwick opened, there would be a flush of new real estate opportunities as people left their single- family homes and moved into them,” Horner said. “I see the Berwick — if it goes ahead — the Berwick development would be a big real estate machine. We want younger people in this town, so what do we need? We need jobs and places for them to live.”
Horner said the potentially vacated homes could see younger families moving in.
Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer agreed with Horner, and said while “it doesn’t address all of the issues,” it’s better than a derelict building or a vacant lot.
Luchtmeijer also said that with more than 90 units in the proposed facility, it would create jobs that could be beneficial in retaining youth and families.
“The service level required to deal with the individuals living there to build and maintain and run a building like that, there are a huge number of job opportunities available,” Luchtmeijer said.
Qualicum Beach resident Jeannie Shaver said her concern was about bringing in another long-term care facility within the downtown area.
“We’ll have five within a stone’s throw of Qualicum Foods. It’s sounds like a fantastic proposal. It sounds like a wonderful facility,” Shaver said. “Do we, in our downtown core, need another long-term care facility?”
Bill Bomhof, the vice-president of Berwick Retirement Communities, said to call it another assisted-living facility would be an inaccurate statement. Bomhof said while the facility would not be assisted living, residents would be able to get aid on their own or through Berwick itself.