By Maggie Kilian
We all support having a seniors’ residence in Farm Point. As residents, we want to ensure it is a positive addition to our community.
The Farm Point seniors’ home project is now slated to be built in the forest adjacent to the Farm Point Community Centre.
There are other potential sites nearby, including an expropriated property with an existing structure and wonderful river views. This and several other options would better serve the seniors, community members, Peggy Brewin Preschool kids, and the environment, and would even minimize projected costs and conserve the forest so that everyone can enjoy it for years to come.
It’s clear that the forest location is not a sound financial, social, safe, or environmental choice. The only factor that favours the forest site over others is that the current building design can be made to fit on this location. This design is based on the La Pêche model, but modified to extend 12 units over one floor. What if there was an investment made in a building design made to fit the best location instead of spending more in construction costs to remove the forest? If the Commission d’habitation de Chelsea (CHC) chose to invest the savings, they would gain on construction and sewage costs in a creative building design at the best location. This would be a win for the seniors, the community, and the environment, and the Municipality of Chelsea and would be a model for other communities.
Peggy Brewin Preschool should also be considered. The current plan would have a road run right past the preschool and would eliminate the children’s forest classroom, as well as jeopardize a funding application they have in place that is dependent on this space. Do we want to risk losing this 40-year old program where so many local kids have, at a critical young age, been able to develop into environmentally responsible citizens?
In comparing the current Farm Point community forest site with other potential sites, other options would:
• reduce financial costs associated with site preparation, construction, and sewer system hook up
• enhance the experience of the seniors in the residence
• support Peggy Brewin Preschool’s growth, funding application, safety, and forest education, and
• conserve and build on the valuable community asset of the forest for current and future residents and visitors.
Given how critical the need is for a seniors’ residence in Farm Point, we are asking Chelsea municipality to work with community members and the CHC to preserve the forest next to the Farm Point Community Centre for all and assess other site locations and consider building designs that maximize community and environmental value and seniors’ quality of life and minimize social and environmental impact.
No one wants this project to be delayed any further. Let’s take this opportunity to make it the best seniors’ residence it can be and make the right choices now.
Maggie Kilian is a resident of Farm Point