South Frontenac seniors housing proposal

Written by  Wednesday, 15 March 2017 12:51
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Preferred location of 12 unit seniors complex. Preferred location of 12 unit seniors complex.

A report that explores options for a senior’s housing project in Sydenham came to Frontenac County council this week, and will soon go to South Frontenac Council.

The report, prepared by Re/Fact and SHS consulting makes a number of recommendation based on demographic research into South Frontenac which concludes that there is likely sufficient demand for self contained senior’s units on a single level at market or near market rental rates to fill 12 units in the Village of Sydenham. The consultants also looked at a number of potential building sites in the village, and talked to representatives from local agencies.

It concluded that a 12 unit complex, located on Stagecoach Road on a 1/7 acre parcel of land that is currently owned by Southern Frontenac Community Services would be the best location. It also proposes that Loughborough Not For Profit Housing, which manages two senior’s buildings in the core of the village, be approached to manage the new housing stock. Two options for the mix of housing are proposed. Under option 1, a grant from the Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) capital funding progam would be sought to subsidise constructions for 6 one bedroom units in the complex. The rents in these units would therefore need to be set at 80% of market rent, in order to be eligible for $900,000 in grant money ($150,000 per unit). The other 6 units, which would have two bedrooms, would have their rent set at 90% of the average market value.

Option 2 differs from option 1 by not including any of the IAH funds. In this case, rent for the 6 one bedroom units would be set at the market rate, and the rent for the 6 two bedroom units would be set at 90% of the market rate.

Frontenac County has provide $350,000 in seed money for the project, and under each scenario the total estimated building costs are almost $3 million. Under option 1, the proponent of the project (ie the township) will need to invest $350,000 and under option 2 the estimated investment is about $1.1 million.

According to the business plans, once built the buildings should be self sufficient, generating enough money to cover mortgage, maintenance and upkeep cost in addition to a surplus of about $10,000 a year to go towards unexpected costs.

Four years ago, each of the Frontenac Townships made a commitment to work towards constructing a senior’s housing project within their boundaries, and $350,000 was set aside in a reserve fund managed by Frontenac County for each of the builds. For the South Frontenac project to come to fruition the Township of South Frontenac would have to take it on as a township project.

The consultant presentation to Frontenac County, which took place on Wednesday morning at the monthly Frontenac County meeting, was not expected to result in much debate. The rubber hits the road, however, when South Frontenac council looks at the report in early April as they will need to find the money to build it.

Because the proposed location for the housing project is within the boundaries of the Sydenham municipal water service, it can be a 12 unit project, and can even perhaps be added on to in the future. While it will require a large septic system, and the purchase of an additional 0.9 acre  of land adjacent to the 1.7 acres owned by Southern Frontenac Community Services will likely be necessary, it will not require its own water system.

Under provincial regulations, any building project over 5 units on a single parcel of land must be serviced by an expensive to build and maintain drinking water system. That is why the project being proposed for Marysville on Wolfe Islands and future projects in North and Central Frontenac will be limited to 5 units, a restriction that does not apply in Sydenham but would apply anywhere else in South Frontenac.

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