No va­can­cies

Meet­ing de­mand for se­niors’ hous­ing

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - There are few things in life so nec­es­sary and ba­sic as hav­ing a roof over your head.” - Kate Mof­fatt, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, pro­gram de­liv­ery and plan­ning, NLHC

Forty-eight se­niors have a safe and se­cure roof over their heads thanks to the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion.

They are all res­i­dents of Char­wood Le­gion Manor and Cot­tages in Car­bon­ear. The cot­tages were of­fi­cially opened last week. They are the lat­est ad­di­tion to the sprawl­ing se­niors’ com­plex, which has been grow­ing and ex­pand­ing in leaps and bounds since it first opened its doors al­most a quar­ter cen­tury ago.

Just three years af­ter it first opened in 1988, Char­wood saw its first growth spurt with the open­ing of eight more units in 1991.

When the sod was turned for the orig­i­nal apart­ment build­ing on Pike’s Lane back in the fall of 1987, who could have dreamed that by 2011, the se­niors’ com­plex would have al­most dou­bled in size and reached all the way to Cross Roads?

Per­haps only those who con­ceived the idea for the com­plex could also fore­see a day when it would fill and ac­tu­ally out­grow its site.

The orig­i­nal con­cept of a hous­ing com­plex for se­niors was the brain­child of half a dozen mem­bers of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion, who had the fore­sight back in the 1980s to see the need for such a fa­cil­ity - a de­mand that could only grow as the numbers of se­niors who would re­quire hous­ing in­creased.

Board sec­re­tary, Les­lie For­ward, who chaired last week’s of­fi­cial open­ing cer­e­mony spoke of the “mar­vel­lous vi­sion” they must have had back then.

It was in­ter­est­ing, but not sur­pris­ing to learn, that in its 23 years of op­er­a­tion, Char­wood has never had a sin­gle va­cancy. In fact, de­mand for rooms there is so great that apart­ments only re­main va­cant long enough to cleaned and fresh­ened up with a coat of paint be­fore the next ten­ant moves in.

While it must be sat­is­fy­ing to be able to pro­vide such ac­com­mo­da­tions, it must also be frus­trat­ing to try and keep up with what ap­pears to be an in­sa­tiable de­mand for se­niors’ hous­ing.

To il­lus­trate just how great the de­mand is for such ac­com­mo­da­tions, the board has ap­prox­i­mately 70 in­di­vid­u­als on its wait­ing list to get in.

Char­wood’s cur­rent site from Pike’s Lane to Cross Roads has now been com­pletely filled with apart­ments and cot­tages. De­spite the great de­mand for additional units, un­less ad­ja­cent land should be­come avail­able at some point in the fu­ture, there is just no more room to grow.

The Canada Mort­gage and Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (CMHC) and New­found­land and Labrador Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (NLHC) should also be ac­knowl­edged for their in­vest­ment in the cap­i­tal cost of this worth­while project.

For the Le­gion, var­i­ous lev­els of govern­ment, town, res­i­dents, and any­one else in­volved, from day one, this project has been an all-around suc­cess story.

- Bill Bow­man

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