Construction of the seniors’ complex in Kenora, Ontario is expected to begin in November

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Work on a new seniors’ complex in Kenora, Ontario is expected to begin next month.

The new complex, to be built on 8th Avenue, will help meet the growing demand for housing in the northwestern Ontario community, said Henry Wall, chief administrative officer with the Kenora District Services Board.

According to Wall, more than 280 seniors are currently on a waiting list for affordable housing in the Kenora neighborhood.

While that number is “pretty significant,” he said, it doesn’t even include seniors waiting for housing so they can downsize.

But the new complex caters to both needs with its 56 self-contained residential suites.

‘ripple effect’

“A portion of the building, about 40 percent of the units, will be standard rental units,” Wall said. “Then about a third will be affordable and the rest will be some kind of income-tested rent, meaning seniors who need financial support to be able to afford housing.

“We appreciate too, and we’ve seen that in other communities by making so many units [market rent]We anticipate and estimate there are likely to be 30 homes for sale in the community, which will also address the shortage of family units we currently have,” he said. “While this is true for seniors, the ripple effect will be quite significant.”

In addition to the residential suites, the new complex will include dedicated health and programming rooms, including a communal kitchen and rooms that can be used, for example, by public health to provide flu shots, Wall said.

Both the facility and its programming will be developed in partnership with All Nations Health Partners, he said.

The partnership, Wall said, “truly brings the local community and First Nation communities together to ensure that our seniors and elders are supported, cared for, and also supported in a culturally appropriate manner from a standpoint of support and service.”

Start of construction shortly

“That’s a really nice bit about it and what makes it quite unique,” he said. “This isn’t just about the infrastructure, but how can we as communities ensure that the seniors and elders who will have this home are well supported and that their quality of life always comes first?”

The Ontario government announced last week that it was committing $4.5 million to the complex.

The entire project, Wall said, will cost about $27 million, with the rest coming from funding and other funding programs.

A tender had previously been published and the board met last week to award the contract. Wall said the successful bidder would be announced shortly.

“We could see construction as early as November,” he said. “For a project of this size, construction can take between 18 and 20 months.”

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