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2024 targeted for Totem, Shorncliffe 're-purposing' considerations: VCH

Vancouver Coastal Health has targeted January of next year for transition of residents and staff from its Totem Lodge and Shorncliffe sites to the new Trellis seniors care facility.
Totem Lodge is one of two local seniors care facilities slated to close following the opening of the Trellis facility.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has targeted January for the transition of residents and staff from its Totem Lodge and Shorncliffe sites to the new Trellis seniors care facility. With that information shared at the July 20 Sunshine Coast Regional Hospital District board meeting, local elected officials pressed for details on future re-use of the older facilities.

VCH’s vice-president of coastal community care, Darlene Mackinnon, and director of planning and projects, Sam Samsami, explained that once operations at those two existing extended care homes in Sechelt are closed, an estimated “six-month window” would be used to assess the Totem and Shorncliffe structures. Community priorities, guidance from the leadership at VCH and health ministry guidelines would be considered in the decision, Samsami said. In his view, the older vintages of those buildings will have impacts for their “meaningful re-purposing” options.

Mackinnon said that a focused working group of the authority, the board and potential partners, including the Sechelt Hospital Foundation, to help inform community decision-makers during the assessment period had been suggested and supported.

That prompted discussions on local needs for mental health beds, a substance abuse treatment location, and spaces for ever-growing demands for senior’s residential care, raised by board directors Silas White (Gibsons) and Darren Inkster (District of Sechelt). Addressing housing shortages affecting healthcare worker recruitment and retention on the Coast was something Roberts Creek area director Kelly Backs raised as a possibility. The VCH meeting attendees noted that each of those issues were also priorities for their organization.

The change over to the Trellis facility will add about 20 new local seniors long-term care beds, according to Mackinnon. With those, VCH will “still be short on beds on the Sunshine Coast” to meet existing demands she said. “Looking to partnerships” with the shíshálh Nation and other area local governments, she noted was one approach she said the authority will employ to develop more spaces to house and care for those in the growing upper age bracket of the local population.