Farm Point seniors' home finally a go
After more than 14 years of fundraising, planning and jumping through myriad governmental hoops, shovels have finally hit the ground for Farm Point’s long-awaited seniors’ home.
Within a year and a half, 12 ground-floor apartments will sprout up at La Résidence du Petit Bois just off River Road in Farm Point — nine one-bedroom units and three three-bedroom units, allowing a small group of seniors in Chelsea to grow old in their own municipality.
“Well, it was pretty exciting to be wearing that hat,” said Chelsea Housing Corporation (CHC) president Céline Brault, referring to the hard hat she wore during a recent visit to the future seniors’ home. Construction officially began on the facility in late September. “It’s pretty exhilarating, for sure.”
To give you an idea of just how long this project has been on the books, Brault had just been elected as municipal councillor under then-mayor Carol Green in 2009 when she got the ball rolling on a senior’s residence in Farm Point. Since then, the CHC has been navigating a decade of governmental red tape that forced them back to the drawing board several times to adhere to the strict regulations that were constantly changing. The project was entirely halted for three years between 2014 and 2017 after the province put a moratorium on permits for seniors’ homes following a tragic fire that killed 32 seniors in a home in L’Isle-Verte in 2014.
La Résidence du Petit Bois will be the first-ever seniors’ home in Chelsea — one that’s long overdue for aging seniors.
Social development organization La Table de développement social des Collines-de-l’Outaouais (TDSCO) released a MRC des Collines housing report in 2021 that revealed there are just 162 private and social-housing units for seniors in the region. That same report compared the infrastructure to the region’s 6,400 residents over 65, illustrating the need for a local housing strategy.
Brault said that several seniors on the original waiting list for a spot at the home have since died, become seriously ill or moved out of the area because the project was delayed so many times. However, she hopes the CHC, which will manage the facility, can tailor the application criteria to prioritize those who most need it.
“What happens to people over the course of time who have had to leave because they either just couldn’t keep up with the upkeep of their house, or they couldn’t afford it and now they’re living in Hull?” she said. “What priority are we going to give to those people to come back to the community they lived in and helped to create and build for many years?”
This application criteria and other administrative items will be up for discussion at the home’s AGM this coming November, and Brault said she hopes to be able to recruit a new roster of volunteer board members to help see the project through. She said there will also be a separate information session to outline application criteria in the coming weeks or months.
Brault said she has been muzzled by government officials on the final price tag of the seniors’ home, but added that it is “considerably higher” than the initial $4.2 million quote. Brault added that rent subsidies will be available for residents, which will be based on the income of each individual. She also couldn’t say what the base rent would be until government officials hold a ground-breaking ceremony some time this fall.
“What I can say is that the rents are well below the average rent for the region,” added Brault.