A new long-term seniors care facility was announced in July for Nelson at the site of the abandoned Mount St. Francis. Kaslo’s village council says it should have been included in the provincial plan. Photo: Tyler Harper

Kaslo council says it was overlooked in long-term care announcement

“We’re fed up … They have ignored every attempt we’ve made to contact them”

by John Boivin

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Kaslo’s mayor says council will ask the provincial government why it was snubbed in a recent announcement on extended care beds for seniors.

“They were promised to us 20 years ago, when 10 beds were put in place in Kaslo,” says Mayor Suzan Hewat. “We were operating on the assumption we would be in line for an additional 10 beds.”

The province announced in July it was adding 495 long-term care beds to meet the needs of the senior population in the Interior Health region. It said the increase was the largest announced in over 15 years.

But the beds are earmarked for Vernon, Kamloops, Kelowna, and Nelson.

Related: New seniors care facility in Nelson to be built at Mount St. Francis site

Others in Kaslo lobbying for the beds say that community should have been given some of that allotment.

“We’re fed up with it,” says Val Koenig, who has been leading a lobbying effort for more beds since 2000. “After they built the first 10, they said they would build another 10 in 2001 or 2002, and the plans were drawn up. Since then they have ignored every attempt we’ve made to contact them.”

Hewat says they aren’t giving up hope the community can get some of that new money. She says Kaslo can accommodate those seniors’ needs, and the physical space is available at the community health centre.

And she says the announcement that beds would be going to Nelson doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. She notes Interior Health has only issued five requests for proposals for the beds that will be evaluated in the fall. A decision will be awarded in early 2021.

“There’s an intake process that will go on, so we’re going to write a letter to the ministry… and see if there’s any possibility that 10 of those can be diverted to construction in Kaslo to fulfill that 20-year-old promise,” says Hewat. “If we don’t ask the question, we don’t have a chance.”

Hewat says Kaslo has a good case for more beds.

“We meet the threshold for having 30 per cent of our population as seniors, so it’s definitely needed,” she says. “We have a lot of seniors who are being displaced from their community to be cared for elsewhere. And in many cases their friends and family are old as well, and their options for visits are quite limited, especially in the wintertime.

“It’s not right we have to travel.”

She says more extended care beds are essential for the long-term viability of communities like Kaslo.

“We need to advocate for our seniors. They matter as much as seniors from the big cities – in our case, Nelson. It’s great for Nelson, but it really speaks to economic development as well. It provides good employment for people. We need to have those beds.”

Kaslo council has been lobbying for senior governments to recognize the need for more in-community seniors’ care, and has developed a resolution to that effect. It’s been forwarded to this year’s UBCM convention for debate.

The province says it is investing more than $1 billion over three years to improve care for seniors, including investments in primary care, home health, long-term care, assisted living and respite services.

— From the Valley Voice

Healthcare and MedicineSeniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Indoor pools in RDCK to reopen Oct. 13

Pools have been closed by the pandemic since March 16

Books for Kids fundraiser celebrates 10 years

The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy’s annual campaign is in partnership with Black Press

Pandemic a growing, learning experience for young Argenta musician

Tenise Marie will perform Oct. 3 at the Capitol Theatre

Trial of RCMP officer begins in Nelson’s Capitol Theatre

Jason Tait is charged with manslaughter after an incident in 2015

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Zero new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Five cases remain linked to an outbreak at Calvary Chapel in Kelowna

Most Read