Turn old school into ‘memory-care’ homes
An open letter to MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais Warden Marc Carriére:
The purpose of this letter is to encourage the MRC council of mayors’ to pre-empt the conversion of the former Wakefield Elementary School property from institutional zoning to private-sector housing.
(“Abandoned but not empty,” Low Down, Nov. 16 edition) tells the tale of an out-of-province owner group's failure to repurpose the old school for an international language school. Two abandoned buildings and a generously proportioned sports field are of high value, being located within the Village core, directly overlooking the Gatineau River valley and abutting the Gatineau Park eco-preserve. One can easily understand co-owner Eric Ma being quoted as now admitting to “planning to convert the property into townhouses.”
May I recommend that a better use that fits within the existing zoning might be CISSS de l’Outaouais-approved assisted-living and memory-care residences, in addition to those of nearby La Résidence de Wakefield and accessed by the medical clinic? A cluster-type “village” comprising five 12-resident chalets (60 residents in total), a recreation hall, and embedded childcare? (See attached illustration.) This could be privately developed and operated or done non-profit style.
Our MRC is facing a surge in aging baby-boomers!
The former school property is regionally central, and Wakefield is a welcoming place for seniors needing assistance.