After providing seniors a place to live for 22 years, White Rock’s Concord Retirement Residence is permanently closing its doors due to financial pressure related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mark Gallagher, co-owner of the privately owned and operated independent-living facility, said deciding to close the residence was among the most difficult decisions his partnership group has had to make, but at the end of the day, he said, they were left with no other options.
“We had no choice given the economic circumstance,” Gallagher told Peace Arch News.
Gallagher’s family purchased the property from the Christian Science community in 1997. The previous owners operated a retirement home, which the Gallaghers expanded to 42 units, including an existing motel that was turned into “funky seaside cottages.”
Gallagher said when COVID-19 hit last year, the retirement residence made decisions based off of safety and not economic realities.
“We’ve done everything we can to keep people safe, that was the highest priority,” Gallagher said. “There was no real economic rationale to decisions. It was just doing what you have to do to keep residents and staff safe. A memory that always sticks out to me is we paid $17 a mask in the early days for a mask that cost $2.
“You just do what you have to do. It came to a point where we can’t sustain those increases.”
Gallagher said there is now an “intense” effort underway to find new homes for the 41 residents.
Asked if residents are being offered a compensation package, Gallagher said “I think it’s fair to say that we’re doing everything we can to safely relocate everybody within the community.”
Property manager Holly Mackintosh, who Gallagher described as the heart and soul of Concord, is tasked with finding new homes for the residents.
Mackintosh has worked at Concord for 21 years.
“I’m going to have to reinvent myself because this isn’t a job, this is my life,” Mackintosh said.
Mackintosh has until Dec. 31, the day of the closure, to find a new living spaces for all of the tenants.
“We’re definitely making good headway on having all of our residents located by then. We will do everything we can. Our staff, they’re all committed to staying with me until the end and we’ll do everything we can to get them jobs because they are the best of the best,” Mackintosh said.
Mackintosh said the retirement homes on the Peninsula have good working relationships with each other, and “everybody has vacancy.”
“It’s a great community, we’ve all worked together and not pitted one against another because we’re all invested in providing what’s best for our seniors.”
In terms of finding new homes for the current residents, Mackintosh said she has one goal in the forefront of her mind.
“As long as my residents are loved and taken care of.”
As for the future of the property, Gallagher said that has yet to be decided.
“It’s a beautiful piece of property. We really want to see, whatever the next step is for the property, we really want to see it be part of the community.”
Concord Retirement Residence is located at 15869 Pacific Ave.