Hillside site considered for 320-bed, $70-million care home

Three years after Oak Bay council voted down a proposed development to replace the Oak Bay Lodge and Mount Tolmie care facilities, a new site has been identified: a former school playing field at Quadra Village in Victoria.

The 320-bed Summit at Quadra Village, a care home for seniors with dementia and complex physical care needs, is scheduled to be completed in 2018 at an estimated cost of $70 million.

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“With the aging population, the need for such a facility is ever more growing,” said Dave Howe, chairman of the Capital Regional Hospital District board. As a corporation of the Capital Regional District, the hospital district works with Island Health to develop and improve health-care facilities in the region.

The 3.5-acre site at 955 Hillside Ave. is not appropriate for anything bigger than the 320 units envisioned, Howe said. The new facility won’t change the number of available units.

The care home will replace two aging facilities: Oak Bay Lodge, built in 1970, on Cadboro Bay Road in Oak Bay, which has 247 publicly subsidized units, and the 73-unit Mount Tolmie Hospital, built in 1964, on Richmond Road in Saanich.

The Summit facility is expected to last 60 to 70 years.

Island Health set out to replace the care homes in October 2009. In 2011, after six months of meetings, Oak Bay councillors rejected the variance needed for redevelopment on the same site.

Howe said he does not foresee similar problems with its Hillside Avenue site, purchased a year ago from the Greater Victoria School District for about $6 million.

In December, the province designated the site for use as a health-care facility under the Hospital District Act. It is zoned for residential care.

The designation is a critical first step, said Howe, who represents the Southern Gulf Islands Electoral Area at the CRD. “We bought land zoned for what we needed, and as the new chair of the hospital board, all I can say at this point is that what is now coming together at this [Hillside] location is a terrific job of collaboration between our staff and the folks over at Island Health,” Howe said Tuesday.

Next steps include hiring a consulting team to design the building and hiring a contractor, Howe said. In the long term, the board will also work with Island Health to determine the future of the Oak Bay Lodge and Mount Tolmie Hospital buildings.

Once there are detailed drawings, they will be given to the City of Victoria for approval of technical elements of the design and for building permits.

Costs of capital projects are split 30-70 between the hospital district and Island Health. The hospital district, which will finance the project, will pay about $22 million, including the cost of the land. Island Health will effectively pay its share through its 25-year lease of the facility.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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