Former Pioneer Villa reopens

By Lorne Eckersley

The Bungalow, formerly known as Pioneer Villa, is now a multi-unit “independent living community” residence, as the new owners describe it.

Built in 1979 in a massive community effort to create another seniors care facility to complement Swan Valley Lodge, Pioneer Villa operated successfully until 2002, when it was closed by Interior Health. The building sat empty until it was purchased in 2017 by David Bonk, who spent two years in bringing it back to a useful state before selling it earlier this year.

The Bungalow, owned by Greg and Cathy Eaton and Gordon and Kelsey Skulnec, has 35 units currently available for occupancy. The units come with a meal plan and include the use of shared facilities, like a laundry area, crafts room, gathering spaces and access to grounds that feature garden space and a gazebo.

The location at 1909 Ash Street makes it an easy walk to Creston Public Library and the downtown core. It is on the community bus route and a bus stop will be made out front.

“It’s really nice that The Bungalow is situated in a nice, well-established neighborhood,” facility manager Doug Eaton said on Saturday

“This facility has a lot of advantages right now, with this Covid-19 situation,” he said. “It is basically a sterile building—no one has been living here, the interior has been completely redone and we have been vigilant about ensuring visitors are healthy and use hand sanitizer upon entry. We have kept a record of all people entering the building.”

Studio suites, deluxe suites and one-bedroom suites offer accommodation for people with various needs, and the owners have added a major incentive for residents.

“Move in today and only pay half rent until September 1st,” Eaton said.

All rooms include access to a 24-hour snack bar as well as a plated dinner service. The culinary event of the week is their Sunday brunch. “For the first while we will have dinners catered, but eventually all meals will be made in our fully equipped commercial kitchen.” In addition, the deluxe studio suites and One Bedroom suites all have kitchenettes with a small fridge and microwave oven.”

Light-filled and spacious, the re-use of a building that had such an important connection to the community will be a welcome addition to the tight rental market.

“It is remarkable what the previous owner was able to accomplish after purchasing this property,” Eaton said. “The new owners are excited to see all that work provide a warm, comfortable environment for our residents—something the entire community can take pride in.”

As manager, Eaton will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of The Bungalow. After a career as a geophysicist that took him to 30 countries around the world, he became a property manager in Penticton. When approached to take over management of the new Creston facility, Eaton said he couldn’t resist the challenge.

“This is such a beautiful community with so much to offer,” he said. “I have really enjoyed my time here and my wife, Irene, is looking forward to joining me as soon as she can wrap up her work commitments in Penticton.”

For more information about The Bungalow and pricing, visit the web site at https://www.bungalowcreston.com or follow the Facebook page. Emails can be directed to thebungalowcreston@gmail.com and the telephone number is 250-428-6928.

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