Completion of the six-plex addition at Pleasant Valley Village slowed last month because of the extreme cold and supply chain issues. (Angelique Houlihan photo)

Completion of the six-plex addition at Pleasant Valley Village slowed last month because of the extreme cold and supply chain issues. (Angelique Houlihan photo)

Senior citizen housing construction continues

Cold, supply issues have affected progress

Construction progress on the Houston Retirement Housing Society’s six-plex addition at its Pleasant Valley Village site slowed late last year because of the very cold weather and ongoing supply chain issues but the society still hopes it will be finished in early spring.

And the society can always use more volunteers to reach its completion target date, reports society secretary Shannon Clarke.

“Among some of the returning volunteers, there have been new volunteers and all of the volunteers have helped out immensely,” said Clarke.

“We will still need volunteers early in the new year for the finishing.”

Among project highlights has been the installation of the complex’s geothermal heating system, something that will add to energy efficiency.

The six-plex addition will increase the number of units at the location from 18 to 24.

Along with unanticipated challenges, the cost has also increased to approximately $850,000, reported Clarke.

But donations such as lumber from Canfor, $75,000 from the Dungate Community Forest and in-kind support from local businesses have helped buffer increases, she said.

“Several individuals have donated as well with donations ranging from $25 to $1,500. The total donations and grants received in 2021 is $114,835 not including the in kind donations,” Clarke added.

The society is taking out a mortgage to complete the project financing but its combination of volunteer labour and monetary and in-kind donations have kept rents at a reasonable level.

As of Feb. 1, a one-bedroom will cost $618 a month and a two-bedroom $650 a month.

The six-plex addition is welcome news for the community in terms of providing housing for seniors.

“The need for the housing is great. Before construction of the [current] fourth building, the waiting list was over 50 people. Currently there are over 90 people on the waiting list,” said Clarke.

The wait list increase is being attributed to increased interest in housing once people saw construction get underway, she added.

In keeping with the design of the existing units, this new six-plex has four two-bedroom and two one-bedroom units. Each is to be around 800 square feet and there will be a large common room.

All units are rentals and are built to be accessible for people with physical limitations using walkers or wheelchairs so that there are no steps and doorways are wider.

The impetus for local seniors housing dates back 20 years ago when a group of people gathered to address a shortage of seniors housing in the community.

And a major step forward was accomplished when Groot Brothers donated the five acres on 11th Street.

The first six-plex was built in 2007 with the second one coming in 2010 and the third in 2015.