Former Beaver Valley Middle School. (Times file)

Inclusiveness planning imperative for re-development of old Beaver Valley School

Letter to the Editor from Ben Postmus

I have deep passion for the “Inclusive Community” planned for the middle school property, and I just have some thoughts that I would like to share .

I think that it is imperative to the integrity of the project for Inclusive units to be part of the Initial phase of “The Middle School Property Housing Development.”

In my mind this cannot be “ well those units will be in phase 2” or “perhaps those units will be included once we have the demolition of the Middle School completed.”

This just can’t happen.

We also need to remember here that the plan has included housing for seniors! And then remind ourselves that many seniors require more assistance in their living situation than does a person with a developmental disability.

If this is truly going to be an Inclusive community, the housing for folks with disabilities needs to be included from the onset which I believe the local team is supporting.

That is the reason for calling this an inclusive community and should not be an afterthought.

Tremendous traction has already been created by this forward thinking group, so let’s keep that traction going. The Inclusion of a 37-spot childcare center is very impressive and much needed for families.

I will share with you that I have been hosting Provincial Zooms for the past seven weeks on Inclusive Community/ Inclusive Housing/ Intentional Community and other housing options .

The audience for these has been province-wide, with great numbers sitting in and more and more interest each week.

It is a HUGE issue for many, many families not only here in the Kootenays but all over the province.

Here is a rundown so far of participating guests:

– Provincial Inclusive Housing Task Force

– Delta Housing Be Mine https://deltahbms.com/

– Ted Kuntz from L’Arche http://www.larche.ca/

– House and Hive https://www.hiveandhouse.ca/

With more groups joining in the coming weeks:

– BC Housing

– Sunshine Coast ASSOC. For Community Living http://www.scacl.ca/

– Steve Morissette Middle School Inclusive Community.

– Windsong https://windsong.bc.ca/

– Kinsight https://kinsight.org/about-us/

– CLBC – Community Living BC / Housing .

Provincial Inclusive Housing Task Force; Delta Housing Be Mine; Ted Kuntz from L’Arche; House and Hive; and families sharing housing options they have developed for their children.

More groups will be joining in the coming weeks: BC Housing; Sunshine Coast Assn. for Community Living; Steve Morissette Middle School Inclusive Community; Windsong; Kinsight; and Community Living BC.

Families are thrilled to hear of all these options for their family members.

There are some amazing housing projects in the province that are truly inclusive, there just isn’t enough.

Families will also do just about anything to provide safe, accessible, affordable housing for their sons and daughters and are not all aligned with the group home or homeshare support models.

I have heard stories from moms and dads saying, “We will pretty much have a mortgage for rest of our life,” just so they can support their children.

These families are also willing to move to communities that offer these amazing Inclusive housing opportunities and our local development has that draw for families.

I have so much more that I can share about other inclusive communities and housing developments but the resources included here should paint a pretty clear picture.

Any families interested in joining in the Inclusive Housing/ Inclusive Communities ZOOMS can email me at bpostmus@fsibc.com.

Looking forward to the next steps,

Ben Postmus, Fruitvale

Letter to the Editor

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