Trellis plans for Coast facility remain in limbo

Long-Term Care

Trellis Seniors Services says it’s hoping to break ground on two long-term care facilities on the Lower Mainland this year, but there’s still no clear timeline for the company’s planned facility on the Sunshine Coast.

Trellis was awarded three contracts by Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) in June of 2016. 

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The Creekstone Care Centre in North Vancouver and Hamilton Village Care Centre in Richmond have been moving through the municipal approvals process with little or no controversy. The Trellis-VCH deal to build a facility in Sechelt and then close Shorncliffe and Totem Lodge, has met with some community resistance.

Last year, with approvals for the Sechelt location on hold until the municipality completed a broader look at Official Community Plan amendments tied to the “spectrum of care,” Trellis made a deal with the Town of Gibsons for a site already zoned for long-term care. It’s still not clear which site VCH and Trellis are most likely to move forward with.

In a press release just before Christmas, Trellis said its team is “continuing to work closely with municipal bodies to address the final refinements necessary for building permits and ultimately, to begin construction.” 

“Due to the overall volume of development occurring in each of these municipalities, the process for permitting has been delayed with opening dates shifting to late 2019 and possibly early 2020. However, everyone is continuing to act as expeditiously as possible and we appreciate all the efforts of the District of North Vancouver and the City of Richmond to advance these much-needed health services,” said Trellis president Mary McDougall.

The release did not offer an update on the Sunshine Coast project, and a Trellis representative told Coast Reporter this week that the company does not have any update at this time.

Vancouver Coastal Health also said there was no new information to release.

In a letter to Health Minister Adrian Dix in early December, Protect Public Health Care Sunshine Coast, an umbrella group of opponents of the Trellis-VCH agreement, tried to convince the minister to abandon the deal.

“We are dismayed by developments so far. The exclusion of stakeholders from the decision-making process continues. Worse, there are strong indications that your ministry is negotiating with Vancouver Coastal Health and Trellis about establishing a public-private partnership,” the letter said.

Dix has not yet made himself available to speak with Coast Reporter about the future of long-term care on the Sunshine Coast, but the Health Ministry offered the following statement:

“We understand Trellis continues to explore various options to meet the future residential care needs on the Sunshine Coast. This is a complex situation given the diversity of views within the community and it is important that any decision be made thoughtfully and with a thorough and diligent review of all options.”

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