In one of the most emotional moments to be witnessed by Sparwood Council, shouts of joy and tears of happiness flowed from the gallery as Council unanimously approved a one million dollar donation to Lilac Terrace, allowing them to begin a much anticipated and hoped for expansion.
With only three days to spare the impending deadline of October 31, members of the Lilac Terrace Board and attending general public held their breath as Council made their final decision during a Special Meeting held on October 28.
Not new to the delegations, the Lilac Terrace administrator Deborah Friesen and board members have been to Council on several occasions in the past month in an effort to secure the funding, but have been deferred on all occasions until the Special Meeting in hopes other promising funding sources would come through.
When no alternate guaranteed funders were recognized, Council determined it was the District who would guarantee the million dollars allowing the project to move forward, while noting that their financial contribution could be decreased by fundraising as well as other donations that come through in the months ahead.
Riding on this decision was years of hard work by the Lilac Terrace Board.
“We have been looking at expansion since 2004 and in June we applied for a grant through B.C. Housing and Columbia Basin Trust requesting one million dollars, and received notice of intent to proceed upon conditions of us having confirmation of a one million dollar commitment of our own,” said Friesen. “With the approval from Council we are now able to move forward into a stage called the provisional project application where we will work with a B.C. Housing Project Officer to finalize details and drawings. Once that is done, we will head into the final project commitment and the exact amount of the grant will be announced.”
The expansion to the west end of the building will include 12 more apartments, similar to those currently at Lilac Terrace as well as two more community rooms, which will be used for palliative or respite care. When the community rooms are not in use, they will be available as rental rooms for family visiting Lilac Terrace residents.
“This is really amazing to see. Since the hospital closed, there has not been any palliative or respite care options in Sparwood,” said Friesen. “We have been through many situations where families have had to go out of town and seniors have desperately wished to spend the remainder of their lives in their home and now we are finally able to offer this service to our community.”
The project, which is expected to begin in June 2014, pending final project commitment, is presumed to cost an estimated 3.6 million. Additional funding sources will come from donations from the Anton Svec Fund, the Sparwood Hospital Foundation Society, private donations and local fundraising.
“At the end of the day, we have a high degree of confidence that other major players are coming to the plate. With this approval they can now move ahead,” said Terry Melcer, CAO, District of Sparwood.
“We know how much this project means to the entire community and fully expect to see Sparwood all work together on making this project a huge success.”