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Conceptual drawing of the proposed 20-unit seniors housing complex in Ignace. Photos courtesy of the Township of Ignace.

Council drops support for seniors housing project in Ignace

By Ryan Forbes May 18, 2023 | 11:49 AM

Ignace residents are banding together to create new a housing development for seniors in the community, after the project was suspended by the township’s council.

The Ignace Silver Tops say their group has reconvened with Jeff Lederer elected as the new Chair, with the goal of bringing a 20-unit seniors housing complex to life.

“This type of housing project is vital for our community and its citizens, as echoed through several key studies and policy documents,” says Lederer.

The group was formed in October of 2020 to try to create new housing developments in the Ignace area, with over 50 per cent of the Township’s population being over 55 years old and no seniors housing currently in place.

The committee says they’ve continued to meet to help guide the development of the 20-unit project, which members say would be vital to the community.

“It’s a shame to think that some seniors will be forced to live elsewhere, says Chicki Pesola. “Our seniors have been key community builders and volunteers who helped Ignace flourish and improve the quality of life.”

Its proposal includes plans for a 19,000 square-foot facility with 16 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units, which would be accessible and barrier free, and each would have an outdoor patio area. There would also be common laundry rooms, waste collection, parking and storage areas.

The surrounding property was cleared in June of 2022 and Finn Way General Contractors was chosen to build the facility, according to a release from the Township.

By July of 2022, the committee asked Council to help them with a funding application to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, among others, ahead of the build.

Negotiations continued through December 2022 when the committee and Township looked at turning the committee into a Non-Profit Housing Corporation to manage the project and oversee the complex once it was built.

But the Silver Tops say Town Council decided to not pursue and to suspend the funding application in March of 2023. Now, the group says they intend to find new partners to help bring the project to life.

“The success of this project hinges on collaborative partnerships and leadership”, says Heidi West. “Our elders deserve to age in place in the community that they have called home for many years”.

The Township provided little detail into their suspension of the funding application.

Through March 8’s two sentence press release, the Town of Ignace says the project has been ‘put on hold’ as the municipality feels more work and due diligence needs to be completed prior to applying, to avoid any negative impacts to the taxpayers of the community.

As it stands, the Silver Tops say they will be meeting with partners in the community, as well as provincial and federal governments, in future weeks and months. Those wanting to get involved are asked to contact the committee at stshc2023@gmail.com.


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