VCH puts out call for seniors care facility

Health

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has put a call out for proponents who can provide between 15 and 25 new residential care beds on the Sunshine Coast and have the flexibility to expand that number to 125 beds “in the short to medium term, should circumstances allow.”

The first phase of VCH’s request for qualifications and solutions was issued in early January, and a meeting last week at St. Mary’s Hospital in Sechelt drew several interested parties, Deb Lorimer, director of seniors care for VCH, said Wednesday.

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“We’re in the very early stages,” Lorimer said. “This is very preliminary search for qualified people who are interested in developing the residential care sector.”

In the initial phase, proponents are being asked to show how they would be qualified to build or renovate one or more facilities to deliver residential care services, spelling out their philosophy around seniors care and what kind of team they would have to manage the facility, Lorimer said.

“The intent of the bid is to provide a range of options for proponents to respond to,” she said. “We might go for a 125-bed new build or a 25-bed reno. I think everyone realizes we’re looking for innovation, ideas, regeneration. We may end up with a combination of all kinds of things depending on how proponents respond.”

The requested 15 to 25 beds represent the current need on the Coast, she said, but the request included a 125-bed option “to keep the bid open as much as possible.”

After bids close on Feb. 27, a short list of respondents will be invited to participate in the second phase of the request, which will include design plans and costs.

The facility would operate as an affiliate under contract to VCH, similar to the Good Samaritan Society that operates Christenson Village in Gibsons.

A contract could be awarded within about eight months and construction could take anywhere from 18 months to four years, Lorimer said.

Asked if the 125-bed option could be part of a plan to eventually phase out an existing care facility, Lorimer said: “Are Shorncliffe or Totem [Lodge] in the mix? Directly, no. But depending on what comes in the proposal, they could be. We have not made that determination. At the end of the day, it comes down to how much everything is going to cost.”

The VCH request was cited on District of Sechelt council’s Feb. 4 agenda, with staff reporting that Doug Spani, of Spani Developments, was submitting an application and had requested a letter supporting Sechelt as the location for the facility.

At press time, council had not voted on the draft motion put forward by staff.

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