New units at Cottonwood Manor are nearly ready for occupancy and to fill local need for independent living facilities. (Shiela Pepping photo)

New Cottonwood Manor units nearly ready

Sixteen units replace ones condemned several years ago

Final touches are being worked on and people should be moving into the new construction at Cottonwood Manor by the end of the month.

The 16 independent living units in a standalone structure, along with a new service and amenity area, replace two wings which were condemned several years ago and which have now been demolished.

The need for the project is “to provide safe and affordable housing for seniors 55 years and older,” said Cottonwood Manor site manager Nicole Oben of the work.

Untouched is the wing containing six assisted living units as that was built in 2006 and does not need significant renovations at this time, said BC Housing, the provincial agency which provides various levels of accommodation throughout the province.

The total budget for this independent living project is $3.9 million, financed in large part by the Social Infrastructure Fund, a joint initiative of the federal and provincial governments.

The new units each contain a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen complete with a fridge, stove and microwave, for instance, and wide doorways for people who may have mobility challenges.

Tenants will be responsible for other furnishings.

The residents who will be living in these units are independent seniors, therefore support services won’t be offered but there will be occasional social events.

Interest in the new units is high with first occupants being people who had been housed elsewhere pending completion, she said.

Cottonwood Manor is a facility under the wing of three agencies, BC Housing which is responsible for the independent living units, the Northern Health Authority which looks after the six assisted living units and the Smithers Community Services Association which provides overall day-to-day management and operations.

Those in the assisted living units are provided with two meals a day which are lunch and dinner, once a week housekeeping and recreation and social activities. They also receive home support as needed.

While applications are being taken for the 16 independent living units there is a wait list for assisted living.

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