Quoting Carroll Bryant’s infamous saying, “growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional,” Cariboo Place’s community administrator Raj Salaria welcomed guests to the grand opening of the facility Thursday in Williams Lake.
“We don’t think that you should be limited to the enjoyment of life because of your age,” he said. “At heart we all know we are kids and life is short.”
The long-term care facility is the eighth one Vantage Living has built in B.C. and Alberta.
Its doors opened on April 1 to begin receiving residents.
Williams Lake Indian Band councillor Rick Gilbert extended a welcome on behalf of his community.
“This is the land on which we lived when the first settlers and miners came up, this is where were were and down to Glendale and around to the lake,” Gilbert said of his band’s traditional territory. “I’m sure our ancestors would be pleased to see such a facility such as this being built on this beautiful land to house elders.”
Vantage Living president Melanie Reinhardt said the new building is an example of what can happen when local government partners with private industry and the Ministry of Health to bring services to communities.
“When Cariboo Place opened, we didn’t just put a beautiful building in to revitalize a part of downtown, we also brought jobs,” she said adding the payroll of $3 million provides 50 full-time jobs.
Debbie Lucas, whose mother Joan Tom lives at Cariboo Place, seized the opportunity to thank Vantage Living on behalf of her family for building the new facility in Williams Lake.
“We are thankful to everyone that has provided a home for our mother, Joan,” Lucas said. “The best preparation for tomorrow, is doing your best today and we count our blessings everyday that our mother has been cared for in so many ways. We appreciate the kindness, patience, smiles and hugs and love from everyone.”
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said it is wonderful to have a facility where seniors and their families feel welcome.
“Private-public partnerships are a great institution and in the province of B.C. we have many of them. They are accountable to government. Many people think the private sector is just going to take and not give back but I can tell that they give back in many many ways that people do not recognize,” Barnett said.
Acting Mayor Scott Nelson said the City is proud of the location and the facility.
“What a first class location and fantastic opportunity to provide homes to seniors in our community,” Nelson said. “We appreciate the support from Interior Health, we could not have done it without it.”
Karen Brunoro, residential nurse manager for IH, said already the investment is making huge differences in the lives of local adults requiring 24 hour care.
“This expansion allows people in the Cariboo Chilcotin to stay closer to home and to their friends and family. I’d like to thank the team at Vantage Living,” Brunoro added.