Seniors housing plan in works

Conmee, Ont. — The Pines on Hume senior residential complex in Conmee Township is one step closer to fruition.

The township has put in an application to Canada Mortgage and Housing to drum up funding for the pair of 24-unit senior residence apartment buildings.

“This is going through the township,” said Conmee Township Mayor Sheila Maxwell. “(We’ve put in) an application to (Canada Mortgage and Housing) for a seniors housing program. It’s affordable housing.

“(Our contractor/developer) said ‘This is the price. If you go for a second building, there’s very little extra cost for (a second building).’

“For us it was, ‘Let’s do the two buildings. Let’s go there.’ Because it will probably be worth our while to get two buildings.”

Each 24-unit building will have four two-bedroom apartments with the rest being one-bedroom dwellings of different sizes.

The plan goes hand-in-hand with the Ontario government’s recent Rapid Housing Initiative that would see rapid construction of new housing and/or acquisition of existing buildings for rehabilitation or conversion to permanent affordable housing.

Areas of vulnerable people targeted for the funding include seniors, low-income families, single parents, veterans, the disabled and Indigenous Peoples.

“We want to do seniors, we’ve always wanted to do seniors,” Maxwell said. “That was one of the target groups. (The contractor/developer) was like, ‘Yes, that’s it. This is one of the target groups. You guys have the land, you guys have this. Let me bring this forward.’

“He brought forward plans basically and it’s cheap enough that it’s not going to cost us if we were going with someone else. It’s going to cost us a minimal amount of money.

“We’re going to own the designs and everything like that. We’ll be shovel ready basically. If the funding doesn’t go through, we will still be shovel ready when the time comes and we can get funding for this. We’re looking at getting 100 per cent funding to build this.”

The CMHC application works on a points system and Conmee started off well by already having the land available.

The township is working with a community non-profit organization to start the project with solicitor Rosalie Evans providing legal advice and Lori Holland adding her design expertise.

Maxwell expects to hear back from the CMHC within the next six months and should the township secure the funding, the buildings could be ready to use within 18-24 months and will have a country living feel to it.

“We still want to keep that country, rural feeling,” said Maxwell. “We want trails, we want something that people can say ‘Hey, I still live out in the country. I can still do my flower garden’.

“We’re not building massive apartment buildings. No high rises. We’re going to keep it that country feeling and if that means we have to wait a little longer, then so be it. At this point, I don’t want to cost my residents money.”

On Tuesday at the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge regular council meeting, council approved the draft of a support letter for Conmee’s The Pines on Hume project.

John Nagy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal