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Steveston seniors home supported by $5.9 million BC Housing grant

The inspiration for an independent living facility came from the Steveston Buddhist Temple.

A 107-unit seniors home in Steveston held its official opening last week a year after it opened.

The independent living facility Wisteria Place, whose rents run from about $2,750 for a studio apartment to about $4,600 for a two-bedroom home, was built on land leased from the Steveston Buddhist Temple.

In fact, the idea for the facility was “birthed” by the Buddhist temple, with planning beginning in 2013, explained Kelvin Higo, board chair of the Wisteria Place Health and Housing Society.

BC Housing gave the society a grant of $5.9 million with the condition they provide "affordable housing,” which is 10 per cent below market, Higo explained. There are, however, no subsidized units that are based on income.

The non-profit society compared rents at various facilities, such as Gilmore Gardens, Hamilton High Street Residences and the Maple Residences as well as similar facilities in Vancouver, to determine the rents, Higo added.

Rents at Gilmore Gardens range from $3,450 to $5,355, whereas Maple Residences, built 10 years ago, have rents somewhat below those at Wisteria Place.

Construction on the independent living facility was delayed slightly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Higo explained, as well as because of a shortage of labour.

It opened last September, but the official opening wasn’t held until last weekend.

“We’re very pleased with the outcome,” Higo told the Richmond News.

Higo said Wisteria Place adds to Steveston’s “campus of care” for seniors, with different levels of care provided by Anavets, Maple Residences, Wisteria Place and Austin Harris run by SUCCESS. However, what’s missing from this campus of care is extended care after the Lions Manor was moved to a hotel on Bridgeport Road eight years ago, he added.

The former Lions Manor lot at 11771 Fentiman Pl., is still empty. However, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) told the News in June a business case has been created to build a new facility but funding hasn’t been determined yet.