Published On: Thursday, 09 August 2018

Kingsley Manor: Newest Seniors Residence Fully Tenanted

Kingsley Manor: Newest Seniors Residence Fully Tenanted

PARKSVILLE – Canada’s aging population is a growing concern across the nation, with health care needs and accommodation among the most significant long term issues. That challenge is especially significant in areas with a higher than average retirement age population, such as the Parksville – Qualicum Beach area.

But thanks to the vision of the Kingsley Low Rental Housing Society (KLRHS) and to the creative expertise of Windley Contracting Ltd. the regional accommodation issue has become a little less worrisome. Constructed on behalf of the KLRHS, Kingsley Manor, the Society’s newest residence was completed late last year and the project is already fully tenanted.

Located at 312 Hirst Avenue in Parksville, Kingsley Manor is a 28 unit apartment building designed specifically for the unique needs of the region’s senior population. The project consists of 16 one bedroom suites for seniors 55+, and a dozen one bedroom suites for adult persons with disabilities, including two that are fully wheelchair accessible. Kingsley Manor has also been designed to accommodate its resident’s fixed incomes by offering rents tailored to match its tenant’s economic limitations.

“There’s a tremendous demand for senior’s housing and low income housing in this area as we really have a senior-dominated population,” explained Duane Round, Kingsley’s Building Chair.

An Oceanside builder for more than four decades, Round has worked as a general contractor throughout the region and had offered his support and involvement to the Kingsley Manor project as part of his personal way to give back to the area that has supported him through the years.

“The Society had asked me to come on the Board as its Building Chair to help it redevelop an older six-unit building that had been on the site into the project we now have today. Previously I essentially did the same thing for the Lion’s Club, helping them re-develop an older six-plex they had into a new 33 unit affordable housing residence, making me a natural for this project.”

Designed for tenants capable of living on their own without requiring long term or ongoing care, all of the suites at Kingsley Manor are approximately 550 sq. ft. in size each has a full kitchen, bath with walk-in shower and a balcony. Vehicle and scooter parking is available on site.

“Essentially we torn down the original building at the Hirst Avenue site and then rebuilt it into a 28 unit one bedroom apartment building. It was a way to make a better and more effective use of the land that the Society already owned. We essentially used the land as our collateral to enable us to get the funding we needed for the project through BC Housing and the Canada Social Infrastructure Plan. We were actually the first group in BC to receive funding under that plan,” he explained.

Established in 1965 the Kingsley Low Rental Housing Society is a non-profit group created specifically to address the shortage of available and affordable senior housing in the greater Parksville area. Today, 53 years later, that need is greater than ever and steadily growing worse, a catalyst that led to the development of Kingsley Manor.

The Society's stated mission is to be a provider, advocate and resource for persons needing supportive housing. The Board of Directors consists entirely of a group of volunteers with experience in construction and the operation of affordable housing (such as Round), who work closely with other community service organizations and agencies across the region to connect their expanding list of clients to services they increasingly need.

“The land for this project was actually donated to the Society by a gentleman from Errington. The Society itself was initially formed back in the ‘60’s by a group of individuals from the Legion who recognized the growing need for residences of this type. The also operates another project called Forty Niner Manor (280 Moilliet Street) which consists of 36 one bedroom units,” Round said.

The Forty Niner Manor development includes 26 BC Housing subsidized suites with rents linked to a percentage of their resident’s incomes. All of the residences in this project are approximately 500 sq. ft. in size.

With a price tag of more than $5 million, Kingsley Manor will help reduce the low income rental problem in Parksville, but not eliminate it, especially as the now fully tenanted building had a long waiting list of prospective residents even before it was complete. For Round, while the project is a help, there is still more that needs to be done in the region to help alleviate this ongoing problem.

“This project took four years to complete, and the Society is taking a bit of a break now that it’s done, but obviously there’s still a need for this sort of accommodation in the city. Unfortunately the Society doesn’t have any other property available for development right now, so there’s no way to be sure what the next step is,” he said.

“Kingsley Manor if a terrific step in the right direction but clearly the problem hasn’t gone away so more projects of this type are going to have to be developed in the future. The cost of housing here is making it harder here for everyone not only seniors to survive. So something is going to have to be done and soon.”