“The committee knows we need some form of seniors housing, tell us what . . .” Central Frontenac Mayor Frances Smith told a gathering last Thursday afternoon at Oso Hall to discuss seniors housing in the Township.
To that end, the committee (Smith, Coun. Bill MacDonald, RFCS director Louise Moody, Pat Fisher and Peggy Hurley) has been asking residents to fill out a survey that asks questions related to people’s thoughts about what seniors housing should look like in the Township. To date, they’ve received about 50 surveys, many of which were filled out by the 45 or so people that came out to the information session. (You can still get a survey at the Township office or fill one out online at the Township website).
“I know there’s a need because I have a couple of rental properties and they’re always full simply from word of mouth,” Smith said. “We know there’s a need for more than just seniors housing — single males for example.
“But the County has given us money to specifically look at seniors housing.”
To that end, the committee hired Ed Starr of SHS Consulting and Ken Foulds of Re/Fact Consulting to produce a report.
“You’re fighting with the economics to make the bricks and mortar work,” said Foulds. “Frontenac Islands took three years to get a building up and South Frontenac is just at the point of marshalling resources.”
“It’s cheaper to build outside the hamlets but people want amenities,” said Starr. “The average building costs are $200 per square foot which means about $200,000 for a small apartment.
“And Central Frontenac is one of the few areas where the population has declined.
“There has been a diaspora out of Toronto where people sell their expensive Toronto properties, come here, pay cash and bank the rest, driving up prices but often health and service needs force them back to the city.”
The consultants summarized their findings as:
• Modest growth over the next 20 years
• Seniors will continue to be a significant age cohort
• Housing choices for seniors will change as they age, hence a need for flexibility/options
• There are limited housing options to suit them and existing stock is aging
• Affordability will continue to be an issue for some, especially renters.
They said the next steps are:
• Complete survey results and analysis
• Develop project concept based on needs
• Explore location/site options
• Determine development parameters
• Test financial feasibility
• Establish governance model and partnerships
• Develop a business plan document