A Nelson seniors housing project will be certified under a global rating system that recognizes buildings designed to support the health of people who live in them.
The Waterview Retirement Resort has been awarded WELL precertification, making it the first senior living facility in Canada to receive the distinction.
WELL Precertification is a program that evaluates the health and wellness of buildings. It focuses on ten key concepts: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind and community.
Matthews Design Group CEO Trish Matthews says achieving the pre-certification has allowed her company to move forward with the project with the well-being of the future residents in mind.
“Some buildings that are being put up for seniors are basically meeting the bare minimum. So what we’ve done by aligning with the WELL building program is to ensure that we are putting a focus on the health of the people inside the spaces,” says Matthews.
“With the Waterview project we highlighted and put some processes and design elements in place so that the people living in the space can get the best quality lighting, air quality, water quality that is available to them.”
She says that air quality has been one of the main focuses in the project and that they have been being mindful of materials that can affect air quality.
“We looked at products and materials that we know won’t emit gas or VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air.”
Matthews also said that the WELL standards are based off scientific research that proves the environment one lives in affects their overall health.
“Air quality is often a precursor to other longer-term conditions that impact our health and especially the vulnerable people in our community. It’s scientifically proven that the space that we spend time in has a direct impact on our health and it’s time that we start building to the best standards that we can, not the bare minimum standards.”
Matthews hopes that by achieving the precertification it will provide a new standard for future projects not just in the community but across the country.
“Once people understand that you can monitor air quality for a fairly insignificant cost and you can make choices around products, materials, policies they will start looking for developers and organizations that hold those values.”
Once completed, the Waterview project will have 125 suites. It’s under construction on a vacant property on Vernon Street and is expected to be finished in 2024.