For Gary Barton and other members of Vankleek Hill’s seniors affordable housing association, November 24 was a day of celebration with the official opening of the new addition to the Vankleek Senior Citizens Manor.
“It’s good to see,” said Barton, former mayor of Champlain Township and now president of the seniors housing group.
Special guest for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the new addition to the manor was Rob Flack, provincial associate minister of housing. He also presented a gift for the occasion with confirmation of about $1.5 million in provincial support funding for the $10 million project.
“Welcome to your new home,” Flack said, during the opening ceremony, crediting the seniors housing association with “a magnificent job” of planning and lobbying work for the project.
The three-storey addition to the Vankleek Senior Citizens Manor includes 30 new housing units, eight of them designed to be accessible for tenants who have mobility problems. Ten of the 30 units are also designated as affordable housing for seniors whose financial situations make it difficult for them to find reasonably-priced accommodations.
Barton estimated the provincial funding will cover about 20 per cent of the project cost. The rest is covered through funds confirmed by the United Counties of Prescott-Russell and also a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation support loan.
Almost all of the units in the new addition are claimed and Barton noted that the seniors association has a waiting list of more than 100 people in Champlain Township and surrounding communities hoping to claim one of the remaining vacancies.
Flack’s announcement in Vankleek Hill followed up on an earlier visit that day by him and MPP Stéphane Sarrazin to the Village of St-Albert in The Nation Municipality. Flack confirmed $1.5 million in provincial funding support for the new 26-unit La Résidence Lajoie. Six of those units are designated as affordable housing.
Normand Riopel, mayor of Champlain Township and current warden for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell, thanked both Flack and Sarrazin for the funding aid for the two seniors housing projects.
“The Prescott and Russell region is affected by the housing crisis that is currently hitting the entire province,” Riopel stated. “The two affordable housing projects inaugurated this morning represent an important step forward in this fight. We are extremely grateful for the involvement of all the partners in these projects, and we are committed to continuing our efforts in increasing access to affordable housing for all.”
During a later scrum session with local media, Flack affirmed that other seniors housing associations, like those responsible for Centre d’accueil Roger Séguin in Clarence Creek and for Maxville Manor in Maxville, should be able to find support for their applications for renovation and expansion projects for their senior housing facilities.
“I would think that they’d have a pretty good chance,” he said.
MPP Sarrazin also affirmed that the provincial long-term care ministry is aware of funding needs for other seniors housing projects within the Glengarry-Prescott-Russell riding.
“They (ministry staff) are looking at them all right now,” Sarrazin said. “The ministry is looking at what we can do with these projects.”