Last July, when the Squamish Renaissance Retirement Residence Ltd. was ordered into receivership, officials sought to reassure residents that little would change in the short term despite the fact that the ownership situation for the 75-unit seniors care facility was in a state of flux.
On Monday (March 12), the management team provided similar reassurances to the approximately 40 independent and assisted-living residents. On Friday (March 9), Vancouver-based Park Place Seniors Living completed the court-approved purchase of the downtown Squamish retirement home.
Again, officials who gathered to announce the acquisition to residents provided assurances that the staff who has served them in recent years would carry on and that the level of service would be as good or better than it has been until now. This time, though, their words carried much greater long-term resonance.
There are no major changes anticipated, said Al Jina, president of Park Place Seniors Living, a 19-year-old company that now owns 16 seniors assisted-living and complex care facilities in B.C. and Alberta. Everything will continue, with us maintaining stability and improving care where we can.
The one notable change is that the name is now Shannon Falls Retirement Residence, a moniker chosen after General Manager Lisa Friesen and others surveyed staff and residents for ideas.
Park Place is a family-owned company started in 1993 by Jina and his wife Jenny, a nurse who used to direct care facilities owned by the United Church in the Vancouver area, Jina said. After acquiring their first retirement home in Nelson, the company has since bought 15 other facilities in such places as Port Coquitlam, Salmon Arm, Kelowna, Edmonton, Medicine Hat and now Squamish.
We have many similar to this one in smaller communities, Jina said.
Jina said he couldn't yet disclose the sale price. During the lunch-hour announcement, residents were assured that their rent wouldn't be going up, at least not in the short term.
When the Renaissance was placed in receivership, the court-appointed receiver said increasing occupancy would make it more attractive to potential buyers. Friesen said the occupancy of around 40 is virtually unchanged since that time.
We'll be stepping up our marketing again, Jina said, adding that Park Place has extensive experience in marketing seniors retirement units to prospective residents.
Jina said company officials have already been in contact with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) about the new ownership situation. He said that because about half of the residents' rent is being paid by a combination of VCH and B.C. Housing, a good working relationship with those agencies is important to the smooth operation of such facilities.
He said Park Place officials have worked extensively with Sandra Golightly, the new VCH manager, when she served in a similar capacity with Fraser Health.
We report to them [health authorities] on an ongoing basis on how the residents are doing, he said.