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

Langford racing enthusiast back in driver’s seat of life after surviving aggressive cancer

70-year-old David Smith finishes mid-pack in Canada 200 race at Western Speedway

New nurse practitioner-led medical clinic welcomes Victoria patients

Health Care on Yates expects to serve 6,800 new patients over the next three years

Central Saanich needs at least more than 500 additional daycare spaces

Report before Central Saanich says region faces a ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

Metchosin inmate sentenced to 12 months in jail for escaping custody

Sentence to be served concurrent to a life sentence he was already serving

Sooke jumps on board to ban use of rat poison

City staff will educate residents on harmful effects of rodenticides

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read