An involvement essentially since the beginning of the Steeples brings a great sense of pride for Bill Cleary and Elizabeth Heydon Bennett as the assisted living facility closes in on its 10th anniversary.
“I really enjoy it, may as well continue,” said Cleary, who’s been the president of the Steeples Housing Society almost from Day One after taking over from Ron Mustard and being part of it before the first shovel went in the ground. “It’s a job I love.
“I just think of the people we’ve had in here, the pleasure of getting to know them, the acceptance of the community and the work on the board.”
There’s been some really great people working on the board, Cleary asserted.
“The board’s been very supportive of everything we’ve tried to do.”
He credited Rondeau Fenton and Patty Cocks for their foresight into making the project happen.
“They did the preliminary grunt work. They are the two visionaries – I think a lot of credit goes to them and the Health Care Foundation for donating the land.”
Heydon Bennett has been the facility’s all-encompassing person as administrator, overseeing the families, staff, tenants and Island Health (also still often referred to as Vancouver Island Health Authority, its previous name) personnel.
“She does everything,” conceded Cleary.
“I’m very pleased and lucky to have had this job,” enthused Heydon Bennett.
There are many things she thinks about upon reflection with the upcoming anniversary.
“It’s a great place for people to live,” she said. “They shouldn’t be afraid of it.
“We aren’t a care home. We basically tell people we’re an apartment with supports. It’s Island Health that provides the personal care services.”
There’s a misconception that everything is provided for the tenants, Heydon Bennett added.
There are 16 units in the building – one with a couple so 17 tenants overall – and it’s subsidized housing for seniors and people with disabilities who require some assistance to maintain independence but don’t need or want 24-hour care. Two meals a day are provided in the facility’s dining room.
“The key word is ‘affordable,’” noted Cleary. “It’s a subsidized building by B.C. Housing and Island Health.”
There’s an open house to celebrate the Steeples’ 10 years in the community on Sunday, Nov. 26 from 2-4 p.m. The facility is located at 9910 Esplanade St. in Chemainus and everyone is welcome to come by for cake and a peek inside.
“Those people who might be considering moving here have an opportunity to see what we’re all about,” added Heydon Bennett.
Island Health is responsible for determining all tenant eligibility and selection.
Cleary hinted there are plans in the works for the Steeples. “We’re looking at expanding.”
Cottage style units separate from the main building are being considered.