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Proposed partnership agreement on council table for seniors’ housing project

UPDATE: – Partnership document approved with unanimous support.

A proposed partnership agreement for the LoveSong Seniors Housing and Community Hub project at the former Pinecrest school in Bloomfield is set to come before council Tuesday night.

If the agreement moves forward, the municipality would hold the property for up to 18 months, sharing in the due diligence and carrying costs; would support LoveSong’s applications for grants and provide relief from fees associated with rezoning, building permits, connection fees and development charges.

The cost to the municipality is estimated at $262,830 ($10,513 for each of the 25 affordable units to be created). Just over $66,000 will be funded from the Affordable Housing 2018 budget allocation, and the remainder through future budget allocation and future assessment revenue from the property.

A further 25 units would also be developed in the facility, intended to be rented just under current market rents as calculated by Prince Edward Lennox Addington Social Services.

LoveSong is to bear costs of an environmental site assessment report and an optional environmental site assessment; pay all closing costs and legal fees associated with the purchase from the school board and subsequent transfer. The group will also cover any applications, permits, related studies and drawings as may be required.

The County’s expression of interest for the school board’s property was accepted in January and staff has negotiated an acceptable offer for the property and has been in discussion with LoveSong regarding the property’s eventual transfer to them (Emmanuel Baptist Church) for the price of $375,000 no later than January 10, 2020.

During the 18 month holding period, the County will be spliting ongoing costs for heat, hydro and water and provide property maintenance. Any costs associated with roof or structural repair prior to the transfer would be the responsibility of LoveSong.

Based on current levels of interest in the property, staff is confident it could be resold by the municipality in the event LoveSong is not able to fulfill obligations.

“In our settlement areas, opportunities to acquire land parcels of substantial size with services are not often available to the municipality,” said Todd Davis, Community Development Supervisor, in his report.

The agreement also states LoveSong agrees to maintain as a core value of the operations of the facility, a desire to house and work with all people in the spirit of co-operation, mutual trust and accountability, without regard to their faith or beliefs.

Joy Vervoort, project lead for LoveSong, scheduled for a deputation to council, said “our vision will see the creation of a community where seniors will have a safe, decent and affordable place to call home while at the same time, being actively engaged in everyday living with their neighbours. The LoveSong community will encourage the participation of tenants to share their skills and knowledge through programs they themselves will define; be it music, art, dance, exercise, computer, theatre, games, crafts, woodworking or cooking.”

Opportunities to engage with the wider community through these programs will also be encouraged.

“The community hub will include the existing gymnasium/auditorium to serve as a social and recreational venue and the expansive grounds could provide a community garden and perhaps, a farmers’ market,” said Vervoort. “A wellness centre will also be incorporated to promote healthy living, as well as provide space for service organizations to assist tenants who may require additional levels of support.”

Vervoort notes the early planning stages included communication with the Affordable Housing Working Group for Prince Edward County. The Hastings Prince Edward Poverty Roundtable – Affordable Housing Working Group also has a seat on the Prince Edward Lennox Addington Housing Advisory Board.

“Lack of affordable housing cannot be resolved by any one organization; its causes are varied and complex. As elected officials (all levels of government), business owners, community organizations and citizens, we must take responsibility to seek solutions, recognizing the needs of the various demographics will require different approaches,” she stated. “Solutions will take time and require innovation/resources from many organizations: public, private and not for profit. Together we can and we will make a difference in Prince Edward County.”

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Mike Rodgers says:

    The Wellington Manor when developed was funded by the Legion through mortages etc. period. We need to separate church from state. I buy having the county acquire the property for them but that is where it needs to stop. The group needs to buy the property from county with no cost to the tax payer. The legion manor has affordable housing for persons 65 and older (around $700 and up) The units are self contained and around 700 sq ft, not the 400 sq ft prison cell they propose. 400 sq ft is a little larger that a good hotel room. I for one would not want to spend my golden years in a chubby hole then have to eat in a cafeteria. They need to plan for reasonable sized apartments similar to the Manor not chubby holes.

  2. Chuck says:

    Trying to get my head around this one aside from a lame duck Council continuing to make major spending decisions.

    How does this site meet the needs of seniors?

    – somewhat isolated
    – physical appearance of a facility
    – limited transportation services
    – limited recreation services
    – no grocery store
    – no affordable basic needs shopping outlets
    – no bank
    – no pharmacy
    – no health care services

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