Seniors complex transfered to affordable housing society

NANAIMO – Nanaimo Affordable Housing takes over assets of General George R. Pearkes Seniors Housing Society.

The General George R Pearkes Seniors Housing Society has turned over its assets, including an 82-unit seniors housing complex, to Nanaimo Affordable Housing.

The deal between the non-profit societies, which also includes a community activity centre and maintenance and housekeeping staff, transpired after the seniors housing society voted to dissolve several months ago.

“We’ve been talking, actually for over a year, so it’s not new, but it just officially happened [Wednesday],” said Jim Spinelli, Nanaimo Affordable Housing executive director. “All of the property transfers and what have you won’t be completed for a couple of months yet.”

General George R. Pearkes housing, located at 10 Buttertubs Dr., is a seniors supportive housing project that serves one meal a day light housekeeping. Spinelli said those services will be maintained.

In 2009 B.C. Housing spent $1.7 million on renovations and upgrades to bathrooms and fire suppression systems in the housing units, built in 1969, and the activity building.

Betty Barthel, president of General George R. Pearkes Housing Society, said she is relieved the Buttertubs Drive property will remain affordable housing and that the new management is prepared to oversee redevelopment of the  property into higher density affordable housing in the future.

“Our buildings are aging and we have to rebuild sooner or later and to start preparing that is going to take 10 years before you get to the construction stage,” Barthel said. “None of the board has experience doing that and we would have been competing for government funding.”

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