A $156.5 million long-term care facility will replace and expand bed capacity at the F.W. Green Memorial Home in Cranbrook, announced B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix on Monday (Sept. 18).
The project, which will be completed in two phases, will include a new four-storey building with 148 long-term care beds in total, as well as numerous services and spaces for both residents, families visitors and staff.
The project also includes a standalone daycare that will accommodate 37 childcare spaces.
Minister Dix made the announcement via Zoom, with a number of community and Interior Health representatives in virtual attendance.
“The new home will replace the 60 beds at Dr. F.W. Green Memorial Home, which is close to 70 years old, making it one of the oldest long-term care homes in the city, as well as add 88 net new beds,” Dix said.
“So we’re going to go from 60 beds to 148 beds to help meet the long-term care needs of the region.”
Procurement is currently underway, while construction on the first phase is set to begin in 2025, with completion by 2027. Existing residents will be relocated to the new building, while the second phase will upgrade the existing facility, which will begin accepting new residents by 2029.
“The expansion and upgrade to the Dr. F.W. Green Memorial Home will provide a new and modern building for our seniors in the Cranbrook area,” said Susan Brown, president and CEO, Interior Health. “As well, our staff will benefit from modern technologies and improved workflow in the new building.”
The new facility will be designed as “household” spaces, accommodating 12-18 residents with shared social and recreational spaces similar to a traditional home-like environment with a living room, dining room and activity areas, while each resident will have a single bedroom with a dedicated washroom.
Other amenities will include a hair salon, a sacred space and a 25-space adult day program for people living more independently in the community.
Dix acknowledged the unique inclusion of a daycare facility, which will help with staff recruitment as well as provide more childcare options in the community.
“I think that’s really important for us as we recruit staff, important for the community to add that childcare capacity and I think — as it has elsewhere — it brings children and seniors together in some forms and I think that’s a wonderful thing to do on a site,” Dix said.
The current facility, opened in the 1970s, was originally designed as an apartment building before being repurposed as a long term care home, according to Susan Blake, community integrated care coordinator for the Dr. F.W. Green Memorial Home.
The current building features long hallways and some common spaces without natural light, while the outdoor courtyard grounds have been uneven which creates fall hazards — issues that have been addressed in the new facility design.
“We’re looking forward to the impact not only on our home but also to our community here in Cranbrook and the East Kootenay as a whole,” Blake said.
The East Kootenay Regional Hospital will also benefit from the project, as increased capacity at the new long-term facility will help alleviate pressure on hospital staffing and resources.
“It’s not just critically important for the care homes themselves, but for our hospital, it allows us to ensure that people who should be in long-term care are in long term care in the region and to fully utilize the acute care capacity of the hospital,” Dix said.
The project will be cost-shared 60 to 40 per cent between the province and the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District (KERHD), respectively; the Province will fund 93.5 million, while the regional hospital board will pitch in the remaining $63 million.
“The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District has been a strong supporter of this project for many years and has committed $63 million to help make it a reality,” said KERHD chair David Wilks, in a news release. “Not only will it create additional, much-needed access to long-term care in our region, it will also provide quality care in an environment that supports quality of life for residents, which is critically important.”
The F.W. Green Memorial Home expansion project has been on the hospital board’s radar for a number of years, with the Ministry of Health requesting a business plan from Interior Health in 2020, according to Wilks.
The ministry approved that business plan after Interior Health submitted it for review earlier this year, as local officials ramped up advocacy for the project.
Part of that advocacy included being singled out as a recommendation from 2024 provincial budget consultations, as an all-party finance committee — which included Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka —toured communities across the province seeking feedback ahead of the fall budget discussions.
“It has been a long time coming and it’s great news,” said Shypitka, who lauded stakeholder advocacy efforts from Interior Health, KERHD board, Ktunaxa Nation and the City of Cranbrook, among others.
“It’s a win for all those folks as well as all the current and future residents of the facility.”