Vantage Living, the company building the new 72-care bed facility in Williams Lake, has decided to renovate the former Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin to make a home for Jubilee House, a Canadian Mental Health Association care home for people living with mental illness.
Originally the museum building was going to be demolished along with the former Cariboo Lodge to make way for the new facility, and Vantage was trying to find a new home for Jubilee House which is presently located at the north side of the Cariboo Lodge site.
However, Vantage president Johann Burger said in the end renovating the museum building was the best option.
“It was our responsibility to find Canadian Mental Health alternative suitable accommodation,” Burger said. “We looked at a number of places, such as houses to apartments, to even looking at the old Sears building and warehouse and try and convert it and none of those scenarios made sense.”
The museum, which is adjacent to the Cariboo Lodge site, was “too nice of an old building,” he added.
“We will be renovating it starting this week and making it comfortable,” Burger said. “Canadian Mental Health will move in there with their residents and offices and then Jubilee House and the old Cariboo Lodge will all come down.”
Meanwhile, work began last week inside the Cariboo Lodge building to prepare it for demolition.
“They have to do the abatement work and remove all hazardous materials like asbestos vermiculite and that’s started already with the demolition team,” Burger told the Tribune . “The abatement will be done by the end of August, the building will come down by the end of September and we will break ground by Oct. 1 at the latest, maybe even earlier.”
Kasper Development Corporation is the general contractor for the care-bed facility and will be renovating the museum building, Burger added.
Vantage Living, formerly called inSite Housing and Hospitality changed its name in June, and purchased the museum property from the city for about $350,000 and the Cariboo Lodge site for $10.
During the month of June the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin moved into its temporary location at the Tourism Discovery Centre (TDC) and the hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
The TDC is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
In the month of June, the TDC had more than 3,700 visitors.