Tenant Louis Amadei fawns over the lowered height features of his Cottage Grove suite with Cool Aid regional services manager Don McTavish. Travis Paterson/News Staff

‘We could fill 10 Cottage Groves,’ says Cool Aid CEO about new seniors building

Tenants happy in new supported seniors housing

As he rolls his wheelchair through his one-bedroom suite, Louis Amadei takes a grateful approach to life.

“Everything here is easy to clean, the light switches are low, I can [roll under] the stove, and if I ever need any help there’s always someone helpful downstairs,” said Amadei, one of 45 tenants at the Cool Aid Society’s new supported housing building, Cottage Grove.

The building, at Quadra Street and Tolmie Avenue, is Cool Aid’s fourth building dedicated to seniors, who are about 50 and over. It opened early in 2017, funded by the Canada-B.C. Investment in Affordable Housing ($6 million), the Capital Regional District ($675,000), Saanich ($112,000) and Victoria ($112,000).

“Eight months in things are going really well here,” said Don McTavish, manager of residential services and shelters with Cool Aid. “This gives us another option for tenants who might have been higher risk but, over the years, have settled down and can come here. In turn, that opens spaces to high risk people out there in need of a home.”

There is staff at Cottage Grove, from about 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rent is $375 plus $100 for the meals, though some tenants pay more if they work (income checks are done annually).

Cottage Grove takes its name from the construction business that once existed on the site, owned by Herman and Vicki Rebneris. Vicki sold it to Cool Aid after Herman died. The couple was already familiar with Cool Aid, as Herman’s company built Cool Aid’s FairWay Woods development, 32 units for seniors in Langford.

With Cottage Grove, mobility and design are at the forefront. The basement boasts a bed bug room (a bare room equipped with heaters accessible from inside and outside) that eradicates the pest from tenant belongings before they move in. There’s also a bike storage room. Beside the handle to every front door is a small ledge where one can put their coffee or another item while retrieving their keys.

The laminate floors look sharp and maintain well. All units have a kitchen, and there’s also one hot meal delivered per day, pre-assembled at Cool Aid’s Rock Bay Landing shelter.

“Most tenants do their own cleaning but we do offer honorariums to those who help other tenants clean their suites,” McTavish said.

Next in line for Cool Aid, which is continuing its 2013 pledge to create 360 affordable housing units in Greater Victoria, is to gain rezoning approval for Mount Edwards Court on Vancouver Street. Cool Aid took over the hospital-zoned building in 2016 and quickly filled all 38 suites, mostly with people from Tent City.

On Oct. 13 Mount Edwards Court won council’s approval to approve an additional 40 suites on the second floor and, the eventual addition of 15 affordable housing units on the third floor.

Cool Aid also expects to have 52 people into the converted Tally Ho motel on Douglas, using a temporary use permit from Victoria.

“Half of our applicants apply because of affordability issues,” said Cool Aid CEO Kathy Stinson. “We could easily build 10 more [Cottage Grove projects] and fill them.”

For Amadei, having his own place is about dignity.

“I like the neighbours but I like my privacy [too],” Amadei said. “If I die [here] in some years, I will die in a decent way.”

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

PACE concert raises $6,500 for Langford family

Cathy Shotton recently donated her kidney to her daughter, Nicki

New Habitat for Humanity home coming to Central Saanich

When Lowe’s opened their new store in Langford, they celebrated by donating… Continue reading

Big Brother runner-up, Karen Singbeil, buys longest-running business in Oak Bay.

Willows Park Grocery, operating since 1912, has been bought by Karen Singbeil, of Big Brother fame.

Chef struck by car on Gorge Road dies in hospital

Khushal Singh Rana leaves behind a wife, four-year-old son and unborn twins

Young conductor to premiere new composition at Celebrate Canada concert Monday in Victoria

“Spirit of the True North” the latest musical accomplishment for View Royal’s Jared Richardson

Popular Halloween costumes of 2017

The Joker, Game of Thrones characters and more are on the list as some of the most popular costumes in Victoria.

Thousands flock to Saanich for home fair

Organizers estimate at least 10,000 people walked through the doors of Saanich’s… Continue reading

Saanich soccer club hosts all-female soccer camp

It was a fall day fit for soccer as women across a… Continue reading

String of collisions in James Bay, downtown Victoria, linked to suspected impaired driver

City man faces up to four MVA charges after vehicles hit, pedestrians almost hit

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Council to hold public hearing on EDPA report Oct. 28

Saanich residents will finally get a chance to comment on a long-awaited… Continue reading

Book recycling program helps Peninsula families

It has been 12 years since Daphne Macnaughton was principal of Saanichton… Continue reading

Most Read