Phase 2 of the Avenir Senior Living project at 4979 Wills Rd. consists of a seven-storey Y-shaped building with 160 units. (FINLAYSON BONET ARCHITECTURE LTD.)

Seniors’ residences to be built on the shores of Long Lake

Avenir Memory Care’s second phase, Avenir Senior Living, includes 160 units on Wills Road

A seniors’ care complex is expanding toward Long Lake with a mix of residential units.

Nanaimo city council, at a meeting May 27, unanimously approved a development permit application to allow for Phase 2 next to Avenir Memory Care (formerly Nanaimo Memory and Complex Care) on Wills Road. The new seven-storey building will include 160 residential units, made up of 110 congregate care units and 50 seniors-oriented dwelling units.

“This building will now allow an amazing continuum of care that will allow people to age in place,” said Kyle Shick, project manager at Finlayson Bonet Architecture on behalf of Avenir Senior Living. “This is kind of the [type] of building that falls in those niches that we see as the population ages, with different forms of independent living and assisted living and people can actually purchase units and access the services there.”

RELATED: Seniors’ living facility pitched near Nanaimo’s Long Lake

City council approved a height variance for the building, from 14 metres to 26.1 metres.

Dale Lindsay, the city’s director of community development, called 4979 Wills Rd. a “very challenging site as far as topography” and suggested the height variance was requested in order to reduce the building’s footprint and limit its impact on some of the more sensitive areas of the property.

“It’s going to be about 27 per cent lot coverage, which is well below what we would see in sort of typical developments of this zoning category,” Lindsay said.

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Shick said the building is kept to one side of the site to protect more of the second-growth trees, and said the surrounding trees will be taller than the building.

“The tree canopy up in behind the building will stay above it, and this building doesn’t protrude above that and impact the views in and around the lake,” he said.

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong said she’s very much in favour of the project and called it a “great concept.”

“I’ve toured [Avenir Memory Care], I’ve seen their plans for the future; I think it’s a great way to age in place,” she said. “Also, for people to be close to their loved ones so they don’t have to drive long distances to see them.”

The first phase of the project, comprising 79 units, opened in April 2017.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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