The Legion Veterans Village Research Foundation is pleased to announce the official grand opening of the Legion Veterans Village (LVV), a unique $312-million multi-purpose social infrastructure project led by the BC/Yukon Command of The Royal Canadian Legion, together with Whalley Legion Branch 229, the Province of B.C., and Lark Group in Surrey B.C. The project features a first-of-its-kind Centre of Clinical Excellence in veteran and first responder health, a new Whalley Legion, as well as 91 affordable housing units owned and operated by VRS Communities, and 171 market housing units in phase one of the overall development.
“The Legion Veterans Village in Surrey is a brilliant and progressive example of what can happen when dedicated partners come together,” says Bruce Julian, Dominion President, The Royal Canadian Legion. “We are proud of what BC/Yukon Command has achieved with this opening and look forward to hearing about the Veterans and families who will be helped through this unique venture.”
“We are excited to usher in a new era of the Legion with this unique Legion Veterans Village project,” says Veronica Brown, Executive Director of the BC/Yukon Command of The Royal Canadian Legion. “It is a symbol and monument of what a modern Legion could be, representing much of what our veterans care about, what they need a Legion to be, and how we can better service our veterans, our communities and the essential first responders who look after us.”
Located on the corner of City Parkway and 106th Avenue in downtown Surrey, the 20-storey Legion Veterans Village building houses the brand new 10,500 sq. ft. state-of-the-art Whalley Legion Branch 229, which includes a restaurant and bar, full-service industrial kitchen, cadet assembly hall, banquet room, lounge and billiards area with underground parking.
“The Whalley Legion has been serving the community at this location since 1960 and we are incredibly excited to launch our brand new Whalley Legion where we can continue to serve our Legion members and become a gathering place for local residents, neighbours and first responders,” says Tony Moore, President of the Whalley Legion Branch 229. “We would like to thank each and every person who made this project possible and we look forward to continuing to honour and serve veterans and first responders and fostering a new community legacy for generations to come.”
Legion Veterans Village was originally inspired by the courageous efforts of Canadian veteran Captain Trevor Greene who experienced a debilitating head injury from an axe attack in Afghanistan. The BC/Yukon Command of The Royal Canadian Legion helped fundraise for an exoskeleton machine to help him walk again, which became the inspiration for the ambitious LVV project to bring innovative health technologies to help more veterans and first responders like him.
The LVV development is also a mixed-use building which includes 91 affordable housing units owned and managed by the VRS Communities Society (VRS), with priority given to Canadian veterans, first responders, Legion members and their families. The Province, through BC Housing, provided $12-million through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund for the affordable housing units which are a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom suites, with 10 units designed specifically to meet VRS requirements for accessibility. These complement an additional 171 one- and two-bedroom Parc Centrale market housing units by Dava Developments, which have already sold out.
“Lark Group takes great pride in being a dedicated community partner and collaborator, and as a purpose driven developer in Surrey for 50 years, we’re pleased to deliver this amazing project on time and on budget for all of our partners,” says Kirk Fisher, Executive Vice President of Lark Group.
The key centerpiece that sets the Legion Veterans Village project apart from others, is the Centre of Clinical Excellence for veterans and first responders health. The clinics offer an integrated continuum of health and wellness programs and services for veterans and first responders focusing on clinical health care and rehabilitation services, innovative research and health technologies, as well as counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health.
“This grand opening is the culmination of 10-years of collaboration and perseverance of the BC/Yukon Command of The Royal Canadian Legion, the Whalley Legion Branch 229 and developed by long-time Surrey developer, the Lark Group, which as a group never failed in its determination to make this innovative project a success,” says Rowena Rizzotti, Project Lead for Legion Veterans Village.
“Now that the facilities are in place, the Legion Veterans Village Research Foundation is officially launching phase one of its $10-million Fundraising Campaign to support the translation of clinical research into programs, technologies and services that will support health and wellness of our veterans, first responders and their families at the Centre for Clinical Excellence and across Canada.
“The mission from the beginning was to bring an integrated continuum of health care and mental health services into one building as a major step towards improving care and services for veterans and their families and to address the increasing incidence and impacts of PTSD for both veterans and first responders,” says Dr. Venu Karapareddy, Centre for Clinical Excellence Medical Director and Founder of Actum Health.
The Centre of Clinical Excellence is operated by Veterans and First Responders Health (VFRH), an integrated group of primary health care, wellness, and rehabilitation service providers connected through Welmind, the digital healthcare partner enabling streamlined, coordinated care.