Sooke Region Elders Complex
The Sooke Region is a beautiful place. However, we still need to work together to ensure that as we age, we have access to relevant services and resources, we are able to join activities that are fulfilling, and we have housing that is affordable. These are all essential to healthy aging in place.
The Sooke Region Communities Health Network (SRCHN), in collaboration with the Seniors Drop-In Society, have partnered to provide the Sooke Region with an Elders’ Complex. The Elders’ Centre will affordable housing units designed for elders’ requirements and an activity centre.
We need not limit ourselves to BINGO, bridge, and tea, but be open to all sorts of opportunities such as social events, hot meals, fitness sessions and educational classes for people aged 55 and over, with possibilities for intergenerational get-togethers. The activity centre will be open for drop-ins, meaning you can just stop by because you want to see a friendly face. The spaces will be multi-functional and may be used for smaller gatherings or larger events. In fact, you may come with suggestions as to what type of programming you would like to see while we are in the project and design planning stage, right through the construction phase. This unique project will provide a valuable hub of resources and support to not only the residents of the complex, but to the larger community. Even if you do not consider yourself a “senior” in your sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties or older, you will certainly find rewarding friendships, connections, support and fun at the new Elders’ Complex.
The Elders’ Complex is envisioned as a place for seniors to live healthy, independent lives for longer. The development will include a ground-floor Elders’ Centre with drop-in services and activities; several commercial lease spaces; and 4-5 storeys of residential units for seniors. The residential component will provide affordable housing for a range of needs and incomes.
This project is intended to fill two important gaps in Sooke: affordable units for seniors and a community space where seniors can gather, socialize, and get access to services. The space will also incorporate a youth/intergenerational component and will be rentable to the larger community for events.
SRCHN has partnered with the District of Sooke to develop the Elders’ Complex in the Northeast quadrant of District-owned Lot A, located at 6671 Wadams Way. The site is centrally located within the District’s town centre, and is walkable to grocery and retail stores, restaurants, and banks.
The project design is in its preliminary stages and will be refined through conversations with the district, engagement with stakeholders, and comments from the public.
The current design iteration is a 5-storey building with underground parking and storage for residents. The first floor consists of the Elders’ Centre, which includes office spaces for the Sooke Seniors Drop In Center and SRCHN, a commercial kitchen, flexible dining areas, a lounge, and a multi-purpose room. Also on the first floor are several residential lease spaces, and on the south-facing side, several residential units.
The upper 4 floors provide a mix of 1- and 2-bedroom units to be rented to seniors. 10-20% of units will be wheelchair accessible, while others will be adaptable so that residents can age in place for as long as possible.
The exterior of the building will generally adhere to Sooke’s Town Centre Illustrative Design Handbook and aim for a west coast feel, with wood and stone accents. With the grade of the site, the south-facing units will have views of the Juan de Fuca Straight. The Elders’ Centre will have an outdoor patio seating area, and there is the possibility of providing small garden spaces on the south side of the building.
Like much of Canada, Sooke has an aging population, with adults over 65 continuing to grow as a demographic group. This project will respond to two important needs in the Sooke region: providing affordable housing units for seniors and a place for seniors to gather and socialize.
In 2019, Sooke completed a Housing Needs Report, which summarized market trends and identified gaps in housing supply. The following key takeaways indicate a need for this type of project:
There is a current and growing need for affordable rental options for adults over 65 years of age.
The price of single-family homes has risen dramatically, and the purchase price is unaffordable for 82% of households, while almost half of renting households in Sooke pay more than 30% of their income on rent (which is considered unaffordable).
There is an estimated need for over 408 independent seniors housing units based on current waitlists in the area.
There is a lack of accessible and barrier-free rentals or condos. This means that some seniors are staying in older, larger homes that are difficult to maintain, even if they want to downsize.
You can read the full Housing Needs Report here.
The Elders’ Centre will also provide a much-needed drop-in space for the community. Sooke is one of the only communities without some sort of seniors’ centre, as the Sooke Senior Drop in Centre lost its permanent home in 2010. The proposed project would provide ample space for activities, crafting, dining, games, and socializing.
Development team formed
Preliminary site planning
Functional program planning
Preliminary designs completed
Funding applications submitted for Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) and CMHC Seed Funding
Ongoing communication with District staff
Public engagement launched
Rezoning and other municipal approvals process begins
BC Housing funding application submitted
Tenants can move in
Check back here for upcoming events and opportunities to provide feedback.
To contact the project team, you can email the SRCHN Board President at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What does affordable mean?
A: In this case, we are offering a mix of affordability for our future residents, based on the current funding call from BC Housing’s Community Housing Fund. 50% of units will be rented at “rent geared to income” (RGI), where the rent is calculated based on the residents’ income. They will pay 30% of their income on rent. 30% of units will be slightly below market rentals, meaning we will charge approximately 10% below the market rental rate in Sooke. Finally, 20% of units will be rented at a deep subsidy, ranging from $375-570 per month, depending on the size of the unit.
Q: Will there be an on-site manager?
A: The design includes an office space at the entrance of the building that will be staffed by a building manager.
Q: How will you decide who gets to live here?
A: The residential units will be for seniors over (55+). In anticipation of receiving BC Housing funding, all residents will be required to be on BC Housing’s Housing Registry.
Traffic, parking, and access
Q: How many parking spaces are being provided on site?
A: While the layout may change, the project will meet the District of Sooke parking requirements.
Q: How will the project be accessed?
A: The entire Lot A site will be accessible by car from Wadams Way. There will be pedestrian access from Wadams Way and from the retail centre to the south (home to Wester Foods, etc.).
Q: How will the site be secured?
A: During construction, safety fencing and cameras will ensure public and contractor safety and security. Upon occupancy, 24hr cameras and lighting will ensure the residents and neighbourhood are secure and visible.
Density and Height
Q: How tall is the building?
A: The building is planned to be 5-6 storeys total. The proposed zoning allows for up to 6 storeys.
Q: How many units are in the building?
A: The current design has 76 units, one bedroom units. This number may change based on funding considerations and discussion with the District.