Candidates weigh in on expanding Peace Villa and seniors housing

In Fort St. John, recent figures show two dozen people on the waitlist to get into Peace Villa, and three dozen waiting to get into assisted living.

Peace River North candidates Dan Davies and Trevor Bolin were asked at the Oct. 14 public forum what they would do to secure funding for a third house at Peace Villa and seniors housing. Here are their responses:

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Dan Davies: “I’ve met with the SONS group here in Fort St. John, they keep me up to date regularly, I meet with Margaret little who is a fierce advocate; of course, dear friend Jean Leahy was her predecessor, who fought a lot for senior concerns. This is something we need to continue to push.

“If an elderly person wants to have their own place, their own room, we need to make sure that we are able to support that. The bigger picture is, and we announced this with the $1 billion, is the best place right now is for seniors to age at home.

“Most of them want to age at home, but they need those supports, so we need to make sure we have staff trained up to do it. We’ve already offered a $7,000 tax credit that seniors can apply for to offset some of those costs. That is what we need to look at in making sure that we are supporting seniors that want to stay at home as long as they can, at the same time we also need to be building.

"It is something I’m going to be fighting for, whether it’s at the caucus table if we’re in government, or at the budget debates in the legislature.”

Trevor Bolin: “In the housing study I’ve been working on is a report back to the province. For the last month and a half, we’ve asked for accurate numbers so that we can ensure that is included in this housing study, so we can ensure the province has a look at what we’re dealing with in the north.

“I had a conversation with one of the seniors housing groups here about a week and a half ago, because they were unaware of some of the funding that was available to build capital projects.

“It’s one thing to have the money, it’s another thing to ensure it’s readily available and communicated properly. At any point in time over the course of the last five years, if the funds that are available were actually brought to the group and shared how that building could be built with that capital, and funding could be made available for support workers and staff workers, I think it’s going to be a monster win for a lot of the people in our community that are waiting, and have been waiting for a very long time.”

Danielle Monroe, candidate for the NDP, did not attend the forum, and has not responded to press inquiries.

General voting day is Oct. 24 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

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