Nursing bed project to have big impact for Powassan, Trout Creek economy

·4 min read

Powassan Mayor Peter McIsaac says the 96 long-term care beds announced for Trout Creek will have a major economic impact for both Powassan and Trout Creek.

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli announced the nursing beds last week in North Bay.

McIsaac says the building to house the nursing beds will sit on vacant land next to the former Lady Isabelle Nursing Home which closed in the summer of 2017.

The proponent of the nursing bed project is Italo Ferrari, head of Real Estate Investments.

Ferrari was also involved with the purchase of the former Lady Isabelle Nursing Home and his plan is to transform that empty building into a seniors' living facility.

McIsaac says when Ferrari became involved with the purchase of the former nursing home building, a large section of land came with the purchase.

“It's always been Italo's goal not only to refurbish the old nursing home into a sort of residential home, but then on the remaining property to get the 96 long-term care bed license announced,” McIsaac said.

McIsaac says the remaining plot of land is about 14 acres, or 5.6 hectares.

He says from a municipal standpoint, the local town council cleared the way to sever the former Lady Isabelle Nursing Home building from the remaining land and approved a rezoning.

“So our work as the municipality is done and he's ready to go,” McIsaac said.

Although not confirmed or official yet, McIsaac believes the proposed 96-bed project would be valued at $30 million.

He's optimistic that when construction begins, as much local and area labour is used in addition to building supplies.

“There will definitely be some spin off and we're happy to get that,” McIsaac said.

In terms of employment opportunities once the nursing home is ready for occupancy, McIsaac estimates the facility will generate about 100 jobs.

He says the former Lady Isabelle Nursing Home employed 88 people and Powassan and Trout Creek took a big hit when it shut down.

McIsaac says it's been three-and-half years since Lady Isabelle closed and most of the former employees have moved on to other jobs.

McIsaac says this means “management of this new facility will have to reach out to the community to fill positions.

“Obviously there will be new people and new jobs and with that we expect there to be a bump in our housing market,” said the mayor.

McIsaac says the housing market in the Powassan region has not only been red hot, it's turned white hot.

He says the addition of the 96-bed facility “will keep that going.”

Being conservative with his numbers, McIsaac says just adding 20 families to the Municipality of Powassan means 20 new homes, which in turn sees housing assessment values increase to say nothing of the wages added to the local economy and the purchasing power that brings to the businesses.

McIsaac couldn't put a dollar value on the economic impact but believed the “value to the community will easily be in the millions of dollars.”

McIsaac says even before the 96-bed nursing home was announced, Powassan has seen a bump in its building permits for new homes.

He attributes that to people who want the lifestyle of a small community where there's plenty to do and McIsaac says “I think we offer both."

“If you're a young family, there's a lot to do here and a lot of that I can attribute to what we do at 250 Clark plus all the other recreation programs we have in the community,” McIsaac said.

As for the housing, McIsaac says last year the municipality set a record for building permits and has every reason to believe it will break last year's record in 2021.

“We're a Northern Ontario town that's growing,” he said.

McIsaac says the last census shows that while many communities in the North saw their populations shrink a little, Powassan's numbers grew.

“And I'm assuming we'll be on the plus side of growth when the next census comes out,” he said.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget