Dave Saunders is calling on local leaders to bring long-term and hospice care for seniors to the West Shore. (Pixabay)

Dave Saunders is calling on local leaders to bring long-term and hospice care for seniors to the West Shore. (Pixabay)

Philanthropist urges leaders to build senior long-term, hospice care in West Shore

‘We’re sending loved ones away from our community,’ says Dave Saunders

A well-known philanthropist and former mayor of Colwood made a promise years ago to bring more services for seniors requiring advanced care to the West Shore.

Dave Saunders was approached by Nicole Donaldson – a licensed practical nurse, dementia care specialist and seniors’ advocate – over 13 years ago with her concerns that there was not enough long-term senior care in the West Shore. Saunders also met several seniors who had the same concerns.

After a proposal to renovate the Oak Bay Lodge and build a new facility on the West Shore was knocked down, Saunders went to Island Health with his concerns. He said he was told he’d see a facility on the West Shore in five years time but that time came and passed and there was no movement when it came to seniors’ advance care facilities in the Western Communities.

READ ALSO: EXCLUSIVE: West Shore seniors forced to relocate, no hospice care

Saunders said his frustration at the time boiled over to the point where he became more actively involved, going to local politicians with the issue.

“We’re sending loved ones away from our community and family members would like to see them but can’t…they have to plan a day trip just to see them,” Saunders said.

After stepping down from politics, Saunders said he handed everything over to newly elected officials who he hoped would pick up the torch, but nothing happened.

Now, even more frustrated, Saunders spearheaded a push to bring a seniors housing facility to Colwood and West Shore residents. He met with developers and identified eight that were willing to host a project.

The Saunders Family Foundation also paid for a draft report from the Westbridge Group Valuation Partner to prove there really is a need for service-enriched seniors housing and care facilities on the West Shore.

“The report says the need is more than there,” Saunders said.

The report also shows that there is a significant number of seniors on the West Shore that aren’t being serviced but that the demographic has the median income to support a private facility.

READ ALSO: Support growing for palliative care facility on the West Shore

“In comparison to Victoria, that has several of these facilities, there’s certainly room for one to be built on the West Shore,” Sauders said. “And we have the ability to incorporate a public part of the facility into the mix.”

Saunders said he is urging Island Health to take advantage of what the West Shore has to offer such as cheaper land, landowners that are willing to enter long-term leases and even people who are willing to provide a capital investment.

“We should have been scrambling to build these seniors facilities 10 years ago and now 10 years later they’re going to cost more money,” Saunders said.

While Saunders said he’s willing to lead the charge on this issue, he said he’s looking to officials from every level of governance to become involved.

“I’m happy to work with them … but it’s going to take some leadership to come forward and say ‘yes we need to do this right now’,” Saunders said. “My hope is this report puts to rest any misconception that there isn’t a need on the West Shore … I challenge anybody from Island Health to prove me wrong.”

With files from Katherine Engqvist

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greg Chow is the 2021 Local Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fighting fire a family affair for Colwood Assistant Chief Greg Chow

With 38 years of service, Greg Chow is the 2021 Hero of the Year

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

Sooke Road was down to single lane alternating traffic after a motor vehicle incident Wednesday morning. (Google Maps)
UPDATED: Sooke Road reopen after motor vehicle incident

Emergency crews were on scene of Wednesday morning incident

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Most Read