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First Northern Assisted Living Units Break Ground in Burns Lake

BURNS LAKES, British Columbia, August 16, 2005 — A new $4 million housing development to provide 17 assisted living units for seniors started construction today at the official groundbreaking ceremony at the Lakes District Senior Citizens Housing Association's assisted living project. This project is funded in part under the Canada-British Columbia Affordable Housing Agreement.

"The Government of Canada is committed to supporting affordable housing for Canadians who need it most," said the Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry, on behalf of the Honourable Joe Fontana, Ministry of Labour and Housing. "We are pleased to be making this investment to create affordable housing units for seniors in Burns Lake. Together with our partners, we are helping more people access new units and start new lives."

The Burns Lakes project is one of many new assisted living homes developed under the Independent Living BC (ILBC) program, providing a middle option for seniors who can no longer live independently, but who do not want or need 24-hour residential care. These 17 new assisted living homes in Burns Lake will provide affordable alternatives for low-to moderate-income seniors.

"Assisted living is needed across British Columbia and our government is committed to ensuring that our seniors in the North are provided with quality health benefits while remaining independent," said Bulkley Valley — Stikine MLA Dennis MacKay. "Through partnerships such as the one we have here in Burns Lake, we are offering seniors more choice as their care needs increase while remaining in their own communities."

The assisted living units are self-contained apartments with a 24-hour response system. Residents receive personal care services, such as recreational opportunities and assistance with medications, housekeeping, meals, and laundry services. Northern Health will provide ongoing funding for personal care services and a portion of the hospitality services to ensure that tenants have access to the healthcare services they need to remain independent.

"We want to provide a wide variety of health supports to seniors across Northern British Columbia," said Malcolm Maxwell, Northern Health CEO. "We believe these units will offer new options for Burns Lake seniors who can remain independent with specialized housing and health services. We believe these units will complement the high quality seniors' services provided in Burns Lake through our community care staff and at The Pines."

The new assisted living development will be owned and operated by the Lakes District Senior Citizens Housing Association. The non-profit housing society already manages a 39-unit subsidized seniors' housing development next door which will share services with the new assisted living development once completed.

"Lakes District is in need of more choices for our seniors as they age to allow them to remain as independent for as long as possible," said Lakes District Senior Citizens Housing Association President Karen White. "Affordable assisted living will be welcomed by our seniors."

The success of the assisted living development relies on the commitment of the Burns Lake community. Donors include the Village of Burns Lake, the Burns Lake Community Forest and the Nechako-Kitimat Development Fund.

The Province of British Columbia, through BC Housing and Independent Living BC, is committed to providing 3,500 affordable assisted living apartments across the province. To date, over 3,199 ILBC units, or 90 per cent, have been allocated in communities across the province.

The Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, will contribute $130 million towards affordable housing in this province by 2008. The provincial government, through BC Housing, will provide a minimum of $34 million annually to subsidize the cost of units built under the Canada-British Columbia Affordable Housing Agreement, as part of its strategy to provide a range of housing options for British Columbians in greatest need.

This news release is available online at

For further information, please contact:

Naomi Brunemeyer
Corporate Communications
BC Housing
(604) 209-0013 (cellular)
Lori White, Administrator
Lakes District Senior Citizens
Housing Association
(250) 692-3294

Tracy Wells
(604) 737-4162
Mark Karjaluoto
Northern Health
(250) 565-2694


Lakes District Senior Citizens Housing Association

The Lakes District Senior Citizens Housing Association was formed in 1962 to provide affordable housing for low- to moderate-income seniors. The non-profit society currently manages the Kiwanis Village Project seniors' complex, a 14-unit Carroll Cottage and 25-unit Heritage Manor. The 39 units have a 100 per cent occupancy rate.

Development Facts
The building is a one-storey development with 17 one-bedroom suites. The assisted living development will be situated adjacent to the existing 39-unit seniors' building operated by Lakes District Senior Citizens' Housing Association. There are numerous commercial services in the area and the new tenants will have access to the bus that is currently in operation for the existing seniors' building.

Tenants will pay 70 per cent of their after-tax income for their units and receive hospitality and personal care services, such as meals, housekeeping and laundry, recreational programs, assistance with medications, and other care needs, and a 24-hour response system.

Construction is expected to be completed by April 2006.

Partners and Funding
Capital cost of this project is $4 million.