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Housing for 'wellness' as New View Society celebrates 50 years in Port Coquitlam

A $5-million renovation to Port Coquitlam's Maplewood Manor is bringing smiles to the faces of these residents.

Home is where the heart is and nowhere is that more obvious than at Maplewood Manor.

From the welcoming patio in downtown Port Coquitlam — where beans are already growing in raised garden beds — to the 20 independent living apartments, the apartment is an oasis of calm and connection.

"I wake up to the beauty of my day," says resident Chris Racine.

Racine, who has lived in the apartment operated by New View Society for 31 years, living in the building provides him with stability, as well as contentment.

And he can socialize with other residents in the kitchen and lounge, which has a large flat-screen TV.

Together with New View, the residents are celebrating the conclusion of a three-year, $5-million renovation, funded by BC Housing.

New View is also celebrating its 50 anniversary this year, and will be participating in the Rotary Parade during May Days on May 13, as well as holding community events throughout the year.

"We're trying to celebrate that we've been dong mental health in the community for 50 years — providing services to individuals in ways that don't focus on the illness but focus on the wellness," said Chantelle Burga, executive director for the society, 

New View Society was established in August 1973 in response to the de-institutionalization of patients from Riverview Psychiatric Hospital.

Housing for people as they age

The goal was to provide social, recreational or work programs to assist people with community integration; since then, New View has grown to provide 50 units of housing housing, a club house and community living support. 

Now, New View is working on plans for the future, which includes a 50-unit building on two lots on Kelly Avenue.

With provincial funding for housing announced in the 2023 budget, the hope is that BC Housing will be able to unlock the funds and build the housing.

"We need to provide housing for people as they age," acknowledged Burga, who hopes to see a ground-breaking one day soon for the new development.

Meanwhile, back at Maplewood Manor, residents are enjoying a cup of coffee and snacks in the newly renovated lounge.

The new building has HVAC improvements, a new elevator and accessibility features; every room is newly painted with new flooring, and there are new carpets throughout.

Greg Birch, who has only lived at Maplewood Manor since last September, said he appreciates the nice rooms and pointed out to this reporter the Indigenous touches throughout the building, such as a button blanket in the hallway.

An avid gardener, Birch works in a garden plot outdoors in the courtyard, with rehabilitation and recovery manager Darrell Roemer.

And Birch is also raising plants on his newly-renovated balcony.

Back downstairs in the amenity room, Racine said he's looking forward to bringing his family to the amenity room for Christmas functions.

He's also pleased with New View's commitment to helping people on their life's journey, whether it be volunteering or a paid job.

"It's very empowering to have money in your pocket," said Racine, adding "It's better than feeling sorry for yourself."

Find out more about New View, its clubhouse and programs, by visiting its website.

Upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations include:

  • May 13 - May Day Breakfast at the New View Clubhouse
  • Sept. 13 - Grand Finale at Terry Fox Hometown Square