Well water for Snug Cove House
Growing old on Bowen isn’t easy. It’s difficult and very expensive to find someone to look after you at home, and there’s no safe and supportive accommodation to move into when the daily business of keeping your house going, shopping and making meals gets too much. Every year, four or five islanders have to leave the island to find supportive housing on the mainland, saying good-bye to neighbours and friends.
Seniors contribute actively to their community for longer than ever before, and across Canada all levels of government are readying for the “grey tsunami” of baby boomers and polishing up the art of aging gracefully in one’s own community. But government money does not go to small communities like Bowen. Instead, Bowen is considered to be part of Vancouver’s catchment area.
That looks economically right on paper, but it’s not good for islanders who must leave everything behind to find the right resources. That 20-minute ride across the water between Bowen and Vancouver means nothing to the big picture social planners, but it can mean everything to uprooted island seniors.
For a very long, time (this November will see the 18th annual general meeting of the Snug Cove House Society formerly known as Abbeyfield House), Bowen volunteers have been striving to create supportive seniors’ housing so that our elders can live well in the community they’ve helped to foster. Snug Cove House will help to stop the exodus of seniors, which are, after garbage, our second biggest export.
Without federal or provincial support, we’re on our own, and the community has responded, raising $160,000 to buy the society’s Miller Road land in 2004, and funding the rezoning process four years ago, which envisions selling half the land for affordable general housing, which, in turn, should provide half the construction funds for the seniors’ residence. A mortgage will provide most of the other half. Since then, building plans have been refined to adjust to the reality of lower land prices and tighter mortgage requirements: the residence will now be built in two stages, starting with a 10-unit building with staff accommodation and central kitchen, dining and gathering areas. Because it was originally surplus parkland, the society’s land is not within municipal water supply and sewage connection areas, and the battle to obtain both has been long and fruitless.
Now there’s good news: work just completed, thanks to a municipal community grant and a generous donation from a society board member, means that Snug Cove House now has an assured water supply from a well on its land. And Vancouver Coastal Health has confirmed the land has the right conditions to process sewage on site with a septic field or fields.
To help celebrate this heartening news, Bowen’s Knick Knack Nook has thrown its support behind Snug Cove House with a huge fundraising auction of an amazing wealth of special collectible art and craft works on Saturday, October 20.