Group home may get multi-million-dollar overhaul

New McCauley Lodge would have room for 30 residents

Plans are in the works for a $5.8-million redevelopment of a residential group home for adults living with severe mental illness.

Esquimalt council got its first official look last week at what could be the future of a completely overhauled McCauley Lodge, which has been providing long-term 24-hour supervised care in the community for more than 40 years. The building dates back to the early 1900s.

“It’s about providing the highest quality of care at the facility that we can,” said Pam Edwards, acting executive director of the non-profit Capital Mental Health Association, group home owner and operator.

If the project is approved, the existing residential facility, located on Lyall Street beside Macaulay elementary school, would be torn down next summer.

The two-and-a-half-storey facility is home to 20 adults, who will be relocated during the year-long construction phase, possibly to the Eric Martin Pavilion or Gorge Road Hospital. The group home also provides outreach services to about 20 people.

The new three-storey group home would be able to accommodate 30 people, and include a commercial kitchen, first-floor dining room, office space and gardening plots for residents.

“This new building represents how important these people are,” Edwards said. “We believe these people are worth the best that we can provide.”

If the development is approved, the $3.5-million construction project is expected to wrap up in 2013.

Project funding partners include the Capital Mental Health Association and the Vancouver Island Health Authority, which licenses and funds the group home. Funds are also being sought from the Capital Region Hospital District.

A public hearing on the proposal will be scheduled before it goes to council.