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Take two for consultation at The Gardens

Company admits they made mistakes in first public consultation process and vow to do better
Vice-president Tony Baema said July 25 meeting could have been done better.

The company that runs the largest seniors facility in Qualicum Beach this week came back to residents with a revised plan and a promise of more consultation before changes are made to The Gardens in Qualicum Beach.

Speaking at a special consultation meeting Wednesday night, Retirement Concepts vice president of operations Tony Baena conceded the company could have done a better job at their first meeting, held on July 25.

“The last time we were here we followed whta is our standard template any time we do a development or renovation,” he said. “In hindsight, it was obvious that was not the best option. We should have looked for broader support and input from constituencies prior to reviewing our plans.”

To this end, he added, the company is calling for the setting up of a residents’ advisory committee, to allow smaller groups of people to give their input into the company’s plans.

“We want to get down to smaller groups to talk about concerns and get feedback for this latest revision of the plan,” Baena said. “We want to open up a window of approximately two weeks to have that consultation back and forth to get further feedback on today’s plans and to try to incorporate some of that feedback into our plans before coming back with another revised set of plans.”

The changes from the July 25 meeting were significant, he added.

“First of all, we are not moving the kitchen downstairs,” he said. “It will remain where it is and we are not planning any changes to the wellness room in the basement, where the kitchen was going to go.”

As well, he said the dining room will remain where it is and no changes at all are now being considered for the second floor of the facility.

“We are still looking at a dedicated theatre room in the lower level and we are looking at another dedicated chapel on the lower level,” he said. “It can be a flex room or a common room ... so that’s available to you.”

In all, he said, plans for the construction of additional units at The Gardens have been lowered from the original 25 units to 11.

“There will be five new residents on the third floor, which is residential care, and six new units on the main floor.”

One of the other changes, he said, involves the two decks on the third floor.

“One of the issues that came up is they are not available on a seasonal basis because they are not heated or covered,” he said. “We are looking at making them more accessible by covering them with clear plexiglass so you still get the light, and heating them, so people can enjoy the decks in the winter months.”

Following his address, architect Derek Crawford went into the details of exactly which suites and areas would be impacted by the latest plan.