09:17 AM

New affordable housing to help Port Alberni seniors

PORT ALBERNI – Seniors in Port Alberni will soon have access to additional affordable rental housing and long-term care so they can receive the services they need and continue to live in the community as they age.

Two new projects at the Tsawaayuus Care Facility are under construction as part of a partnership between the Province, Island Health, the Aboriginal Housing Management Association, Westcoast Native Health Care Society, the Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation and the City of Port Alberni.

“Too many seniors in Port Alberni are struggling to keep up with the rising housing costs,” said Scott Fraser, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. “I am proud that our government is working with community partners to ensure seniors have access to safe and affordable housing in our community.”

The first project is a new independent living building with 20 one-bedroom units for low- income seniors, being built next to the existing Tsawaayuus Care Facility. The independent living building will incorporate scooter parking, programming space, common areas and a community kitchen for residents.

The second project is a new extension to the Tsawaayuus Care Facility, which will create an additional 13 long-term care beds, 12 of which will be subsidized by Island Health. The care facility and new independent living building will be connected by a pedestrian pathway to ensure mobility within the campus for residents and patients.

The new beds are part of the Ministry of Health’s commitment to seniors’ care in the province, which will see $240 million invested over three years to increase staffing levels in residential care homes.

“The new long-term care beds in Port Alberni will mean more seniors can stay closer to their friends and family and remain connected to their community,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “We know that maintaining connections to the people and places they love helps seniors enjoy the quality of life they deserve.”

The Tsawaayuus Care Facility is operated by the Westcoast Native Health Care Society. The care facility currently has 30 publicly subsidized beds and one privately funded complex-care bed.

The new beds will enhance capacity and provide 24-hour professional care and supervision to adults in a supportive and secure environment.

Both developments are expected to be ready for occupancy by late 2019.


Sharie Minions, mayor, City of Port Alberni –

“With an aging and diversifying population, seniors' housing in Port Alberni has become a growing issue that is in need of action. By partnering on this project, the City of Port Alberni is sending a strong message that safe and affordable housing is a priority. Our seniors are the foundation to this community and we must help ensure they are receiving the care and attention they need to lead a happy and healthy life today, tomorrow and for the many years to come.”

Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health –

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the Westcoast Native Health Care Society to open more beds. The expansion will provide our aging population with more options so they can continue to call the Alberni Valley home.”

Daniel Watts, president, Westcoast Native Health Care Society –

“All of us at Tsawaayuus (Rainbow Gardens) are excited about adding to our ‘campus of care.’ We are proud to be the organization that will increase seniors' independently living units and complex care beds for people in the Alberni Valley and the West Coast.”

Margaret Pfoh, chief executive officer, Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA) –

“The Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens are outstanding members of AHMA who have compassionately cared for so many Indigenous elders. Their commitment and dedication to the Port Alberni and surrounding Indigenous community continues to make positive and meaningful change. This new development represents their innovative spirit and by thinking outside the box, they have been able to bring a passionate idea to life.”

Charlie Cootes, chairperson, Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation –

“We congratulate Tsawaayuus on this exciting and beneficial project.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Westcoast Native Health Care Society has operated the Tsawayuus Care Facility, at 6151 Russel Pl., since 1994. Services include 24/7 professional nursing care, housekeeping and recreational therapy.
  • The Government of British Columbia is providing approximately $5 million for the affordable housing project and construction financing for the care bed spaces.
  • Budget 2018 launched the largest investment in housing affordability in B.C.'s history — more than $7 billion over 10 years.
  • The Province is building more than 14,000 affordable rental homes for people with low- to middle-incomes throughout the province through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund. This includes 18 buildings providing seniors’ only housing and a number of others that include housing for seniors.

Learn More:

Read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians: bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf


Lindsay Byers
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing 
250 952-0617

Rajvir Rao 
BC Housing
604 456-8917

Cheryl Bloxham 
Island Health 
250 370-8878