The writer of a Nov 17 letter to the editor (‘QB suggestions’) is of the opinion that the community will benefit considerably more by replacing the proposed Berwick Seniors Residences with “high-priced Vancouver condos (The Clarion) which will attract 100 seniors including some locals.”
The suites in The Clarion, as designed, would have been priced from $400,000 to $1,200,000 each and likely sold to more out-of-town buyers looking for summer occupancy only rather than locals.
The residents moving into Berwick will be, for the most part, locals who are also downsizing and will be spending money on decorating, furnishing and clothing. Furthermore, there will be more of them as there are 94 suites instead of 52 and many will be couples resulting in occupancy of 125-150 seniors.
As to affordability, we do not believe, given the mid 80s age, that it is prudent to make an investment in an expensive condo which has high-cost strata fees, property taxes, utility bills and most importantly, loss of income from the funds required to purchase it.
The annualized monthly rent which includes all meals, utilities, recreation activities, special events and transportation is much less than, in the majority of cases, the cost of living in your own house.
Berwick and its residents are well known throughout the province and indeed the country for their connection and interaction with the community. The theatre, bistro, dining facilities and the venue itself, are available to the chambers of commerce, Rotary clubs, schools and many philanthropic organizations when needed. Many of our residents support charities of their choice.
The writer emphasizes that Berwick is “a senior’s residence and not a nursing home,” ignoring the fact that some of our residents require a level of support. Approximately one-third of the suites will be registered with the Ministry of Health as “Assisted Living,” which authorizes us to provide the same services that are provided by the public Home Care program.
It appears that the writer believes that the residents of Berwick will not have any disposable income left after paying the monthly cost to “support any other local businesses.” This is not the case and in addition there will be a steady stream of family, relatives, grandchildren and friends visiting and staying in the local hotels, eating out in the local restaurants and buying a few things in the local stores and enjoying the Qualicum Beach hospitality.
In all of its communities, Berwick buys from local bakeries and farms and provides the opportunity to other local businesses to become our suppliers whenever possible.
The location of the new Berwick was chosen partially because we are able to provide our residents with an easy and safe access from a lobby fronting on the lane to and through the pedestrian walkway to the stores on Second Street and the heart of downtown Qualicum Beach. Seniors love to stroll through the area, meet friends over a cup of coffee or something stronger and buy the odd item in one or two of the funky stores.
Finally, the writer states that Berwick’s 20-25 part-time employees are paid “minimum wage.” This is simply not true.
Gordon Denford, founder Berwick Retirement Communities