Land is currently being cleared on a 17-acre parcel of land in Coniston to make way for a new 55-unit, five-storey affordable seniors housing complex.
It has taken eight years to get to this point, said Les Lisk, president, Coniston Non-profit Seniors Housing Corporation, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and announcement of a $17.95-million low-cost insured loan through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation on Tuesday at the construction site. The loan will be paid back as a 50-year mortgage.
“I was so glad to hear the first blast today,” Lisk said as he looked out over the construction site. “We’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs, with five different applications to five different funding sources, and Ron Belanger of Belanger Construction came along, and now everything is in place.”
Belanger Construction is clearing the land and building the apartment complex, said Lisk.
The group was formed because many seniors were leaving the community because they couldn’t find a place to live, he said.
“People get a little older, they want to sell their house, and are looking for something simpler with no upkeep,” Lisk said. “There is very little around Greater Sudbury to start with, and we had nothing in Coniston.”
The City of Greater Sudbury provided the group a 17-acre parcel of land at the end of Elm Street, with plenty of room for future development
“We’re very fortunate, and the city stepped up to the plate,” said Lisk.
The majority will be two-bedroom units, with the rest being one- and three-bedroom units.
They are very affordable, it’s all green energy heating, and I believe we will be the first zero-energy seniors building in Canada,” Lisk said.
The group hopes to have the complex open by the end of July next year. The walls are all prefabricated, and once the footings are there, it will start to go up pretty quickly, said Lisk.
All units have been rented already, and there is a waiting list for future vacancies.
Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré has been working on the project since first elected six years ago. He helped the group secure “seed funding” for such things as exploratory work, consultant work and to hire an engineer, which ultimately led to the success with the CMHC application.
“Without that support, and the support of the municipality and Ron Belanger Construction, this would not be happening,” Serré said.
The federal government provided $2 million three years ago to upgrade the infrastructure in Coniston that will now allow the seniors apartment to be built, Serré said.
Mayor Brian Bigger said the group is really at a key milestone, and that the project is truly an example of how collaboration is the key to success.
“This is so important for the town of Coniston,” Bigger said.
It’s also important for residents to realize “long-term planning” like this will allow residents who have lived in the community their entire lives to stay here, he said.
“It is imperative that we ensure quality, affordable and accessible housing units are available to our aging population living in Greater Sudbury,” Bigger said. “Thanks to the efforts of the Coniston Non-profit Seniors Housing Corporation, our community will soon have an increased inventory of housing units that future tenants can call home.”