COMOX, B.C. – The St. Joseph’s Hospital won’t be getting any changes in the near future.

In April, Providence Residential and Community Care Society will take ownership of the St. Joseph’s site, with the goal of working with Island Health and the Ministry of Health to develop a dementia village in the Comox Valley.

The village will replace The Views at the facility at 2137 Comox Ave.

The on-site amenities of the village will include a grocery store, pub, and music room, for roughly 150 residents, according to multiple news reports.

Jo-Ann Tait, Providence’s corporate director, seniors care and palliative services said opening a dementia village in Comox is “absolutely our hope.”

Tait said, once Providence’s comprehensive community consultation process defines what the community’s needs are, then the plan is to “bring in services that will emulate the dementia village.”

Providence will take ownership of St. Joseph’s on April 1, and has an agreement to work with Island Health on a potential campus of care redevelopment plan.

The consultation process begins after April 1.

According to Providence, a Dutch model for seniors care – known as the dementia village in De Hogeweyk, Netherlands – will serve as the vision for two major residential care developments in Vancouver and the Comox Valley.

Operated by the Providence Residential & Community Care Services Society, these dementia villages “will foster free movement of people within a homey and secure setting, involving them in everyday activities and optimizing their quality of life,” the organization noted.

The consultative process will likely run until the end of this year.

While Providence has taken action at Vancouver’s Holy Family Residence to bring in dementia village features, no physical changes will be made at the Comox property until the consultation is finished.

Tait indicated that current programming will be examined by Providence, and other programming will be tested during the consultation process. Major changes would again only come after consultation, with existing facilities being used while renovations or new building was ongoing.

“If we can improve their (residents) quality of life right now, why not?” said Tait.

Tait said the existing building will stay intact, and hoped that it could see more use.

“Demolition is something that we think of as the end of the road, if everything was considered,” she said.

“I would love to continue to use those buildings.”

-with files from Troy Landreville