A seniors’ facility in Vanderhoof is seeking public support to purchase a new bus after its sole 23-year-old vehicle failed safety operation tests.
Currently without a reliable mode of transportation, the residents of the Stuart Nechako Manor (SNM) are in need of a new wheelchair accessible bus estimated to cost $155,000.
The long term care facility is operated by Northern Health but their capital budget does not support purchase of a bus. However, Northern Health has agreed to cover the operations and maintenance expenses once the vehicle is obtained.
St. John Hospital Auxiliary Society is assisting SNM with ‘Give a Lift’ fundraiser to buy a new bus and encouraging contributions toward the cause.
To date, $45,000 has been raised, said Ruth McIntosh, president of the St. John Hospital Auxiliary.
“People are coming on board really well,” McIntosh said, adding, they are hoping to have the bus ordered by the end of the year.
The auxiliary is also seeking $124,000 from Northern Development Initiative Trust through its Northern Healthy Communities funding stream.
Without a bus service senior residents from the facility, especially complex care individuals, are left without means in to services such as Adult Day programs and recreational outings in to the community. In the meantime, the community bus operated by the municipality has been made available for SNM residents on a temporary basis.
“Residents highly anticipate their recreational bus outings and are deeply disappointed that they cannot occur especially after just coming out of a long period of COVID restrictions,” the Auxiliary wrote in a letter to the District of Vanderhoof while seeking support for funding application.
“Considering the projected increase in the number of seniors in the coming years, we see the purchase as an excellent long range opportunity whereby increased numbers of seniors will remain connected to their communities by engaging in local activities,” they further said.
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