The new owners of The Gardens at Qualicum Beach may have recently purchased the care home, but the family themselves are anything but ‘new’ to the town.
The family-owned business The Care Group (TCG) became the new owners as of Feb. 28, 2020, having purchased the facility from Retirement Concepts. TCG encompasses nine other care facilities throughout Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, and is managed by Maureen McIntosh, president and director, and Gavin McIntosh, director of administration and development.
According to Gavin, son to Maureen McIntosh, their family has routinely travelled to the town of Qualicum Beach for over a century. He said his family has a trophy from his great grandfather for winning the lowest score of the year at the Qualicum Memorial Golf Course in 1911.
“It’s cool that we have it, because otherwise you’d just never know,” said Gavin.
His family started to visit the region through the summers of the 1920’s, ’30s and ’40s. Eventually Gavin’s grandparents purchased a house on Judges Row, and another in the bluffs near Eaglecrest. During the 1950s Gavin’s grandfather, Fraser McIntosh, owned the Qualicum Memorial Golf Course for a short time, which Gavin believes was a “relatively unsuccessful” business venture for his grandfather.
Growing up, Gavin and his father spent a fair amount of time in Qualicum Beach as well, as his father would often guide-fish out of the marina. Previously, the McIntosh family also owned the Qualicum Manor but sold it to their business partner just a few years ago.
“And so when the opportunity came up to get back into the community commercially through business, the owners of The Gardens knew to call us first because they knew that Qualicum was dear to us. And we’re glad they did,” said Gavin.
The opportunity for TCG to purchase The Gardens initially arose at the start of 2019, a process, Gavin said, that took months and months to negotiate.
“We want to make the care facility better than it was before,” he said. “Our goal, on the care side, is to provide the best care on the Island. To improve the quality of life of our residents.”
The Gardens has 100 residents in longterm care, and approximately 150 in assisted and independent living.
He said TCG’s focus is on safety, health, and an overall well-being and happiness for each resident.
One of the ways they’re doing this is by investing in the building itself, with new furnishing, new floors and fresh paint. While no set renovations involving wall-removals and the likes are planned, Gavin described what they’re doing as “refreshing the interior to be more contemporary.”
Since a recent COVID exposure at The Gardens has worked with Island Health, with only one case reported and visitation rules and restrictions are firmly in place.
The facility closely follows the Island Health’s guidelines for visitations. Each resident is allowed one designated visitor, who must first be screened before being allowed access to a visitation room where the resident will be. Part of the screening process involves taking the temperature of each visitor, asking a series of questions to access visitor “risk level,” contact tracing. Visitor and resident maintain a safe distance of six feet with a safety screen placed between them.
Gavin said extra precautions are now in place with enhanced cleaning methods and by ensuring everyone wears a provided facemask at all times.