A 41-unit affordable senior’s residence will be built in Victoria Harbour.
Simcoe County council has approved a $12.8-million rental development to be built on a 3.2-acre lot behind the rink at the back of the Oakwood Community Centre.
“I’m excited. It’s going to be an incredible building,” said Tay Township Mayor Scott Warnock. “I’m glad I was around long enough to see this come to fruition.”
A single three-storey building will house all 41-units, which will be targeted toward seniors and persons with disabilities. The project will exhibit Victorian architecture, historic colour schemes, include a common area, outdoor seating and gathering areas and provide a connection to the Tay Shore Trail.
Many residents in Tay Township have been voicing concerns over the lack of seniors housing in the community for years. The topic came up during the 2014 election and quickly became a major priority for Township council.
“The constituents wanted to see something built that would be affordable that was tailored toward seniors,” said Warnock. “And the municipality just doesn’t have the financial wherewithal to do it ourselves.”
When Simcoe County began rolling out a program for affordable housing, it initially only favoured towns and cities with access to hospitals and transit. Warnock was part of a group of politicians advocating for a rural housing program. The county obliged and changed the rules for smaller communities.
“We created a special program at the County for rural communities,” said Warden Gerry Marshall. “We tucked away $2 million in 2018 and $2 million in 2019 to create affordable housing in non-urban locations such as Victoria Harbour.”
The township did everything they possible could to help make the project a reality. Various studies were paid for with township funds and they offered up the land to the county for just $1.
“We have an aging community. If people can’t age at home, they want to be able to age in their community,” said Warnock. “My kids and my grandchildren are here. This is the community my wife grew up in. We would love to stay here, if we possibly could. This (building) will give us an opportunity.”
The county has just completed phase one of a ten-year plan to address affordable housing needs in the region. The strategy has created more than 1,000 new units since 2014.
Tay Township had a 10-year goal of 48 affordable units.
“To get 41 units in one fell swoop is great,” said Warnock. “It gets us very close to the target for affordable housing units to be built in Tay Township.”
On June 12, staff were given the green light by county council to move forward with designs, tendering, site preparation and construction.
“The council, citizens and the staff has all been energized about this project,” said Marshall. “A lot of people are going to be happy when we break ground.”
A site plan will be submitted to the Township in early fall for approval, with an agreement expected to be in place by December. The project should go to tender in February with construction beginning as early as March.