By Nicholas Elders
The Lower Mainland’s critical housing shortage received a Catholic infusion last week with the Knights of Columbus, Providence Health Care, and the Archdiocese of Vancouver contributing land and money to senior housing projects that will deliver more than 300 beds.
In their first new senior housing project in decades, the Knights announced on Monday they will partner with Senior Citizens Housing of South Surrey and the B.C. government to build a new five-story, 89-unit apartment complex in Cloverdale.
The Columbus Homes residence will replace two aging apartment buildings with a combination of studio and one-bedroom homes. Construction is expected to start in the fall.
On Wednesday the Archdiocese of Vancouver and Providence Health Care announced they will contribute the former St. Vincent’s Hospital property on West 33rd Avenue for construction of a new 13-storey long-term care home.
The $207-million St. Vincent’s Heather residence will bring 240 new long-term beds to the Lower Mainland, replacing aging beds at other Providence homes.
Between them, the two projects will result in 329 new senior living spaces in a region desperate to find accommodation for every demographic, from young people to seniors.
The Cloverdale residence, which will help address the growing need for affordable senior housing, will be named Zappone Manor in honour of lifelong Cloverdale resident Bruno Zappone, who died in 2021.
President and CEO of Columbus Homes Mike Garisto said the Knights wanted to honour the contributions of all the organizations that built the original complex: the Royal Canadian Legion, the Elks, the Lions, and the Knights of Columbus. Zaponne was chosen to honour the Lion’s Club.
The Zappone Manor’s namesake spent his entire 95 years living in Cloverdale. A business owner and father, Zappone was honoured twice as Surrey’s Citizen of the Year and contributed significantly to the construction of the City of Surrey Museum and Southdale Manor, the apartment complex that Zappone Manor will replace, as well as many other projects and landmarks around the city.
Zappone’s daughter Brenda McCormick was at the announcement of the new building and told The B.C. Catholic it warmed her heart to see her late father honoured.
“He helped to build so much, Southdale [the existing apartment complex], the museum – he was a hard worker. This reflects that,” she said.
A Southdale resident told The B.C. Catholic the honour was fitting, recalling winters when he would see Zappone outside in the snow, volunteering his time to shovel the sidewalks.
The residence’s amenities room will be named after Patrick Pasloski, a longtime Knight who died in 2014 and who gave much of his time to charity, both in the local community and at Southdale manor as well, where he ran seniors activities and social programs, including its annual Christmas story production. The decision to name the amenities room after him reflects his interest in seniors’ social well-being, Garisto said.
According to Garisto, because of this interest in the senior’s social wellbeing, it just made sense to name the amenities room after him.
His wife Cynthia Pasloski said she was grateful that the Knights were honouring her husband.
B.C. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon commended the project for the care and consideration it gave to the existing residents of Southdale Manor.
“Too often when we have new housing development projects happen our biggest concern is the displacement of people,” he said.
“This project is being done in a thoughtful way where the project will be built, residents will be able to move into the new units, and then the project will be completed,” he said.
“I think that’s fantastic planning,” he said, “we want to see more of that throughout the province.”
Many feared the project would never get started, said Garisto.
“This project has been one of the most challenging projects to date because of fluctuating interest rates and rising construction costs,” he said.
Columbus Homes will donate $4.5 million to the project and Senior Citizens Housing of South Surrey will contribute the land. The B.C. government is providing a $6.2-million grant.
Columbus Homes also operate eight other residences: Columbus Lodge in Delta, Columbus Manor in Chilliwack, Columbus Tower and Columbus Millennium Tower in Vancouver, Christopherson House and Kilmartin Gardens in Maple Ridge, and Kaien Place and Wayne Place in Prince Rupert.