The Village of Burns Lake is taking steps to prepare for a significant increase in its senior population over the next decade.
Council recently authorized the village to submit an application to UBCM’s 2017 age-friendly communities grant program for up to $10,000 to hire a consultant to complete a seniors housing feasibility study.
A village staff report says the feasibility study will assist the municipality to prepare for seniors housing requirements “before it becomes a crisis.”
According to the report, approximately 15 per cent of Burns Lake population is over 65. However, by 2025, this number is predicated to be between 25 and 30 per cent.
Village staff says the age-friendly communities grant provides a way to investigate options for seniors housing in Burns Lake. The feasibility study will then be used to attract developers and non-profit organizations that would consider constructing new housing.
The seniors housing project aligns with the 2016 draft of Burns Lake’s official community plan, which identifies rental housing and seniors housing options as an immediate need.
According to village staff, Lakes District Seniors Society members have expressed their concerns over the lack of independent living options in the community. There are currently three options for independent seniors – own home/apartment, Carroll Cottage and Heritage Manor.
Tweedsmuir House is an option for seniors who need an increased level of assistance, and The Pines is an option for seniors who also require an increased level of assistance and/or medical care.
There is currently no option for independent seniors who would consider moving into a seniors condo that would include some light gardening and house maintenance.