LETTER: Development could address two issues for Summerland

Banks Crescent development would benefit seniors health and housing crisis

Dear Editor:

The Summerland council is facing two significant social issues over the next several years.

The first is a lack of long term health care facilities.

The 2016 Canada Census for Summerland indicates that the community’s population distribution is skewed dramatically to persons approaching or over 65 years of age.

Persons over 65 now represent over 30.3 per cent (3,520 persons) of the total district population. The Canada average is 16.9 per cent.

In addition, about another 1,200 Summerland residents are aged 60 to 65. This percentage (around10 per cent) is also atypical for most Canadian communities.

The numbers are growing.

With respect to persons over 65, this reflects a five per cent increase over the last census.

These skewed demographics are, over the next years, about to place a huge strain on the long term health care resources available in the community.

There are currently only about 420 long term health care beds in Summerland with wait lists varying from two to as much as seven years.

People in need are being forced into hospital beds, displacing space and resources intended to serve other members of the community. Over the next several years the demand for these long term health care beds will increase rapidly.

Simply put, Summerland is on the precipice of a health care crisis.

The second major social issue is a shortage of housing.

This shortage exists at most points along the cost spectrum, but most significantly at the single family entry level.

District council understands there is no single solution, that a portfolio of resources will be needed to ease the pressure on families.

As a response, council has been welcoming high density development applications including those that make housing available at the lower end of the cost spectrum.

Mike Chui is a leading mortgage broker from Vancouver. He is both well versed and well respected in the area of senior health care facilities, financing and the impact of health care facilities on the retail housing market. When approached, he offered the following indicator.

“The penetration rate into a community’s retail housing market when a new senior health care facility is introduced is about 13 per cent. With the high Summerland age demographic, I would expect the rate to be significantly higher”.

This suggests anywhere from 50 to 80 Summerland homes could come onto either the rental or retail sales market with the build out of the Lark development.

In summary, council has been presented with a unique opportunity to address both the pending long term health care crisis and the housing shortage with a single decision.

The Lark application, if approved, will add about another 400 new beds to the Summerland long term health care inventory.

The spinoff effects on Summerland’s housing market would also be significant.

Council has perhaps, a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a significant forward step for the future of our community.

Richard Gallant

Summerland

Just Posted

Okanagan Regional Library names new CEO

Don Nettleton, who has been with ORL for 24 years, takes over from Stephanie Hall

Flooding danger reduced in Faulder

Evacuation alert rescinded for 60 properties in the community of Faulder

Twin Lakes armouring against flooding

Canadian Armed Forces personnel assist with further flood mitigation

COLUMN: A special moment worth celebrating

Reflecting on a declaration of love, a commitment to faithfulness and a promise to journey together

They came for a good time on Shuswap Lake

Trooper plays for hundreds on Shuswap Lake this past May Long weekend

Penticton homeless campers devastated by park cleanup

Two women, in their 50s and 60s, said they felt like giving up after their only home was cleared out

Study recommends jurors receive more financial and psychological support

Federal justice committee calls for 11 policy changes to mitigate juror stress

Evac alerts rescinded for over 1,100 Similkameen properties

That includes 663 properties in Electoral Area “B” and Electoral Area “G” and 589 in Keremeos

Research needed on impact of microplastics on B.C. shellfish industry: study

SFU’s department of biological sciences recommends deeper look into shellfish ingesting microbeads

B.C. dad pens letter urging overhaul of youth health laws after son’s fatal overdose

The Infants Act currently states children under 19 years old may consent to medical treatment on own

Singh sides with B.C. in hornet’s nest of pipeline politics for the NDP

Singh had called for a more thorough environmental review process on the proposal

Size, cost set for proposed Vernon cultural facility

Size of new home for museum and art gallery is about 58,000 square feet; cost is $40 million

SilverStar reaches new heights with gondola

Vernon ski resort installing new feature, with opening date set for July 7

Most Read