Social services gets first look at new housing
Renfrew County councillors say the new expansion at the Riverview Seniors Apartment will address the growing need for seniors affordable housing in the region.
The county's social services committee took time Thursday to tour the ongoing construction of 14 units that will make up a two-storey wing to the complex on Victoria Street. It is the first major project for the facility which opened its doors in 1983.
The estimated $3 million initiative is anticipated to be ready for occupancy in February 2018. The 14 units are being raised in front of the existing 21-unit development. Riverview administrator Jill Buckwald informed members of committee, as well as senior county staff on hand for the visit, that they already have 12 people on the waiting list. Laurentian Valley Reeve Debbie Robinson, chairwoman of the social services committee, was impressed with the professionalism and dedication of the contractors, Wade General Contracting Limited, noting significant progress has been made since the shovel first went into the ground earlier this year.
“It's very exciting,” said Robinson. “You can just tell walking around and talking to the people involved in the construction that there's a vested interest in it for them.”
The units will be a mix of nine one-bedroom and five two-bedroom apartments. Three of the units will be modified for those with physical disabilities or mobility challenges. The hallways will be wider to meet modern accessibility standards.
“They are further along that we thought at this point in time,” said social services director Paul Moreau. “The building looks like it's taking shape and they're making progress.”
The project will be receiving $2 million through the province's Investment in Affordable Housing program and another $100,000 from the Town of Petawawa. The Petawawa Housing Corporation is hoping through an ambitious fundraising campaign to bring in another $200,000. Moreau noted that it was constructive to have the social services committee get a first-hand look at the project.
“It helps the committee understand their decisions and the impact their decisions make in local communities,” he added.
In order to reduce wait times for affordable rental housing, the county is supporting a $2.1 million development that could begin construction in Arnprior this summer. That 19-unit housing project, called West Station Lofts, will be funded by the federal/provincial Social Infrastructure Fund. Similar to Riverview, West Station Lofts will be designed to help seniors maintain their independent lifestyle.
“There's a definite need in Petawawa and throughout Renfrew County for housing just like this,” remarked Robinson.