The Southeast Community Services Co-op recently unveiled the design plans of a 20-room Timberline Community Assisted Living housing project.

The Economic Development Manager for Sunrise Corner, Monique Chenier, shares the history of the housing project.

“So, this is an initiative that was spearheaded a couple of years ago to try to get assisted living housing for seniors and our more vulnerable residents in the southeast, to be able to stay in our community.”

Chenier says they received a couple of grants over the last several years and were able to hire an architect to design a facility that would meet their needs.

“The initial architectural schematics are completed. The drawings show how the building will sit on the land which will be donated to the Southeast Community Services Co-op from East Borderline Community Housing, which is a nonprofit organization in our region dedicated to seniors housing. So, this is the next step in senior care and being able to keep our seniors in our region.”

Chenier says, the 14,000 sq ft design plans show what the common areas will look like. “Residents saw the common area where meals will be provided. Activities will also be done in that space. There will even be space for service providers to come in, whether that's a hairdresser or someone who will do footcare.”

She notes that the designs include a look at what each room will look like. “They are 500 square foot suites, which will allow plenty of room for seniors to make it their own and really feel comfortable there.”

Preliminary design plans of the Timberline Community Housing Project in Sprague, created by architect, Pedro ChagasPreliminary design plans of the Timberline Community Housing Project in Sprague, created by architect, Pedro Chagas

Chenier says the rooms will be large enough for two-single beds or a double-bed for couples. “There are several different configurations that can fit into these suites, which are all barrier free. They will all be wheelchair accessible with individual washrooms in each room, to ensure that residents will be very comfortable there.”

The plan is to have the facility staffed for 18 hours a day, seven days a week; to provide meals; to provide companionship, and to be there in case of an emergency, but  Chenier notes, "they will certainly not be trained medical professionals, but supervisory staff to work with the residents.”

Going forward, Chenier says they hope to have residents move in by 2027, and people are already very excited for the housing to become reality.

“We did in-depth marketing research where we talked to seniors in the region and asked what their retirement plans are for when they need to move from their current family home into something with more care. And we had very, very strong support from residents for this kind of facility. So, we see there’s definitely a need in our community, and we're pushing forward with that information in.”

She notes, “There are a lot of people leaving our community because they can't get the care they need, and we absolutely would like to keep them here. So, for now we are putting them on a wait list at this point.”

Chenier notes, “Now that we've started a co-op, we are leaving it in the hands of community members to move this forward. I think there's a lot of excitement out there and I think unveiling these architectural schematics and putting a visual to the project, people will be able to see what the rooms may look like and how they might live there, so, I think there'll be a lot of excitement coming out of it.”

Although she is the Sunrise Corner's Economic Development Manager, Chenier says she is also working as an advisor for the Southeast Community Services Co-op, which she is says is an exciting project. 

“This is such a needed service in the area, in fact my own parents moved an hour away because there were no senior’s residences at the time, when they were looking to move off the farm. So yeah, this hits close to home.”

The Southeast Community Services Co-op is made up of the joint efforts of the East Borderland Community Housing, the RM of Piney and Piney Regional Chamber of Commerce, whose goal was to provide housing for those in need in the southeast. Chenier notes the cooperative is a non-profit and held its first AGM in March 2022.

“So, this is owned by members. Anyone can become a member for $10 lifetime membership, and it is basically owned by the community members who want to get involved.”