Jeff Green | Feb 23, 2006
Feature Article - February 23, 2006
Feature ArticleFebruary 23, 2006
by Jeff Green
Six weeks after a fire destroyed the offices of Community Living: North Frontenac, the agency has become established in temporary offices at the former Retail Centre on Highway 7, and is beginning to look forward to rebuilding - but not before considering its future needs.
Community Living serves the developmentally handicapped community in Frontenac County , as well as parts of Lennox and Addington.
“At first we started to move 90 miles an hour towards getting a building up as soon as possible, but we have now taken a step back and are thinking we have an opportunity here to design something that will meet our needs into the future,” said Executive Director Don Nielsen.
The volunteer board of Community Living has established a building committee, whose task it is to consider all the opportunities and pitfalls in building a new office space. Although the site where the old building stood is a likely location for a replacement office, the possibility of an alternative site within the village of Sharbot Lake remains open.
“The site of the old building does not require rezoning, and we already own it, but we are open to considering other sites that might allow us to do different things,” Nielsen said.
Even without considering a different site, the new building committee has a lot to consider, such as coming up with a building that will provide office space and perhaps some programming space, and that will incorporate flexibility, as the agency could experience substantial growth in the coming years.
With the planned closing of the Rideau Regional Centre for the Developmentally Handicapped in Smiths Falls by 2009, some of the 300 people in the institution could be moving to Frontenac County . That would have implications for Community Living: North Frontenac.
As well, over the past eight years, Community Living has been providing supports, in conjunction with the local school board, for children within the school system, some of who are nearing graduation and will need more support from Community Living.
With some of the insurance issues finally out of the way, the remains of the burned out building are being knocked down and cleared away this week. Sometime this spring plans for a new building will be finalised and construction can begin.
The fire on January 6 was an odd way to begin the 30th Anniversary year for Community Living: North Frontenac, but the staff, board and clientele of the agency have already demonstrated a resiliency and willingness to take on the challenge of rebuilding, according to Don Nielsen, and he expects that the 30th Anniversary year will culminate in a celebration and opening of new and improved headquarters.