A new restaurant and VIP hotel has opened up in the Village of Pouce Coupe where a seniors’ care home once stood.
“I think it’s a great asset to the community,” said Mayor Larry Fynn.
Jason Knutson and two other investors purchased the building for $270,000. One of the investors has since dropped out.
Since the building was sold earlier this year, millions were spent to refurbish the building to accommodate oil and gas executives.
“We don’t have to get right into the dollar figure but it was well over $2 million to bring it online,” Knutsen said. He estimated that it could cost $8 million to build a similar facility in Dawson Creek.
He chose to locate it in Pouce Coupe because of the extra costs associated with doing business in Dawson Creek. He was also attracted by the quality of the building.
The hotel will offer 25 rooms, three chef prepared meals a day, and outdoor walking paths.
The building began its history as a hospital in the 1950s, created with donations raised by the residents of Pouce Coupe, according to Fynn.
In 1967, it was converted to the Pouce Coupe Care Home. It was sold in 2012.
Jarrett Clay, health services administrator for Northern Health, said that the decision to sell it was made in part because it was determined that this method was the most “cost effective.”
“Unfortunately there’s quite a huge cost associated with anything to build to change like that,” said Clay. The former residents of the care home were transferred to the Rotary Manor care home in Dawson Creek.
However, the establishment of that area means that it will no longer be used for housing seniors home, which Stefan Pavlis of the seniors group Community Action for Seniors Independence, said is needed in the community. However, he praised the builders for the move.
“Good on ’em… it need to be used for something,” he said.
Pavlis also said that he believed that the facility would have been great for more public use, but that the costs were too great.
Clay added that Northern Health, like other health organizations around the province, have felt budget limitations in terms of providing seniors housing.
“I’m afraid the issues beyond housing or more one are very complex so there’s no real simple answers,” he said. “Our whole province is feeling likely many believe we should have more long-term care beds so it’s not surprising to hear that people are frustrated from that point of view.”
However, the new facility will not leave local seniors out in the cold.
“This has now become a community centre for the senior citizens of this area,” said Robert Middleton, head of catering at the Peace Energy Lodge.
“Our restaurant has senior specials, our volunteer presence in both the communities is one that’s been called extremely refreshing, plus a large amount of money is here to help the seniors Middleton also pointed out that he donated food worth thousands of dollars to the local Legion for their Remembrance Day ceremonies.
Doc Hollie’s, the restaurant attached to the Peace Energy Lodge, was also named in remembrance of one of the earliest doctors who lived in Pouce Coupe.