‘Living lightly on the planet’
The Century Group spares no expense in developing its retirement communities, but in Sunridge Gardens the Tsawwassen-based business has taken a bold step forward, ensuring that residents not only live in comfort but also benefit from surroundings that respect the environment.
When architect Jan Timmer spoke to Township council about the project several years ago, he said that “living lightly on the planet” would be the aim of Sunridge Gardens. At the time, the Murrayville property at 22301 Fraser Hwy. was the Datwiler trailer park.
Sunridge marked its official opening on Nov. 30, and owner Century Group is aiming for gold LEED certification.
Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building rating system which sets standards for environmentally sustainable green building innovation and excellence.
Elements which lead to Sunridge’s LEED certification include low-flow dual-flush toilets, locally sourced materials, solar energy and geothermal heating, energy efficient lighting, and computer controlled heating, ventilation, and cooling.
For the finishing touches, Century avoided the use of carpets and paint that emit toxic odors.
Large windows in each of the 145 suites, the common rooms, dining rooms and foyer let in natural light, reducing the need for artificial light.
For many of the rooms, such as the library/media room and fitness room, lights turn on automatically when people enter, and turn off when they leave.
In the courtyard, native plantings that eliminate the need for irrigation and attract local songbirds and other indigenous species, have been planted.
Currently, kitchen scraps are picked up by a recycler, but eventually they will be composted on site for use in the courtyard and landscaping.
Smart communities promote a sense of stability and well-being among residents by providing accommodation options for all stages in the cycle of life, and this is evident at Sunridge which is on a major bus route, across the street from Murrayville’s commercial and retail centre, and within walking distance of a library and swimming pool.
The 145 suites range from studios, one bedroom, one bedroom plus den, and two bedroom. In the planning stages are eight single-family houses and a condo building.
The first resident moved into Sunridge Gardens on Oct. 1, welcomed by manager Colleen Saunders.
Saunders is never far away.
Unlike almost all other retirement home managers, Saunders lives at Sunridge, giving her the advantage of always having her pulse on the place.
On a tour the day before the official opening (Nov. 30), Saunders noted that Sunridge is Century Group’s second retirement home in Langley, the other being Magnolia Gardens. Century also built The Waterford in Tsawwassen.
All the suites at Sunridge are all-inclusive rentals, covering all meals, heat, electricity and cable, and light housekeeping. Extras include telephones, and the services of a hairdresser.
Sunridge has its own telephone system. Although that means residents cannot bring their old numbers with them, the individual phone lines offer residents far more protection from phone fraud and other nuisance calls.
The phone system is just one of several layers of security at Sunridge, which is staffed around the clock, Saunders said.
Sunridge, which is for independent, not assisted living, has an activity co-ordinator to arrange outings in the Sunridge bus.
There’s Canucks hockey and other sports and movies on the big screen in the theatre/library, which is also used as a chapel.
Many activities are driven by what the residents want, Saunders said.
A greenhouse in the courtyard is waiting for the green thumbs of residents to work their magic in the spring. A games room beckons, the building is wireless throughout, and there’s a dining room for any resident who wants to arrange a private dinner. A country kitchen, just down the hall from the foyer, is perfect for residents’ own entertaining, to enjoy a leisurely breakfast with newspaper at hand, play cards or watch the latest news on the flat screen television.
Sunridge also has a “test suite” where potential residents can spend up to a week to see if this type of independent living suits them.
It’s the opportunity to ask, “Is this the lifestyle change you’d like to make,” Saunders said, adding that small pets are allowed.