| Jun 22, 2006


Feature Article - June 22, 2006

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Feature Article - June 22, 2006

Community Living will rebuild this year

by JeffGreen

When Community Living North Frontenac lost their building to fire at the beginning of this year, people began to wonder what the agency would do about their need for office space.

Quite soon after the fire, the agency decided to explore putting up a two-storey office building on the same site where their converted house had been located.

Months have passed and while the site still looks as empty as ever, things have been happening behind the scenes. Community Living’s Executive Director Don Nielsen is optimistic that Community Living will move into their new home by the end of the year.

“We have engaged an architect, and we are expecting a site plan to be completed very soon. We will then be able to get a building permit and go to tender on a construction project,” Nielsen said this week from Community Living’s temporary office at the former Sharbot Lake Retail Centre.

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Community Living-North Frontenac provides supports for developmentally challenged children and adults in Central and North Frontenac, helping people with daily living skills, community integration, and other aspects of life. Since Community Living programming is community based, the fire did not have a great impact on services provided, because most of the agency’s work is done through outreach.

While the fire has meant a great deal of dislocation for the agency, the new building that will be constructed will suit the agency’s current and future needs.

“We purchased the house in 2000, and since then have increased in size considerably. We were getting quite cramped,” Nielsen said.

The new building will be a two-storey structure as opposed to the 1.5-storey building that was there, and it will have a fully finished basement. It will have about 3,600 square feet of usable space, as opposed to just over 2,000 square feet in the old building. In addition to more office space, it will have a board room, and some program space in the basement.

The new building will also be wired for the modern electronic era. Every office will have internet connections, and the board room will double as a video-conferencing centre for the surrounding region, thanks to an agreement with the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

“It has been quite a process dealing with the insurance company, construction plans, architects and engineers, all of which I knew little about before this year,” Nielsen said. “Luckily we have some people on our board with construction experience, and Ian Trickett, the township’s building inspector, has become part of our building committee.”

Community Living is also grateful for the community support that has been forthcoming, in particular from Jas Kaillon, the owner of the former Sharbot Lake Retail Centre, who graciously made the building available to Community Living until the end of the year.

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