Orangeville Council considers 192-bed long term care proposal

July 22, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Orangeville Council heard a presentation regarding a proposal for a seniors campus with a continuum of care on the town’s Humber Lands last Monday (July 12).

Matthew Melchior, president of Primacare Living Solutions, a private business providing long term care to seniors, came forward with the proposal, to which Council voted 7-0 in favour of referring it to Town staff for review, comment, and further recommendations. Town staff’s report with respect to the proposal will include other potential uses for the Humber lands as well, which are roughly 20 acres in size, and will be returned back to Council by the end of September.

Melchior noted that the proposed development, which is being called Headwaters Seniors Campus, would feature 192 long term care beds, as that’s the license they’ve been granted by the Ministry of Long Term Care.

“The seniors village shall include educational elements, geriatric medicine, hopefully affordable seniors components and various types of seniors housing,” he said.

Primacare Living Solutions will also be working with Georgian College, to allow their students to interact with the seniors on campus through a live classroom.

If approved, the proposed seniors campus will be based off of Simcoe Manor’s redevelopment in Beeton, which is the evolution of Georigan Manor in Penetanguishene.

The long-term care facility will also bring in medical partners to provide specialized care close to home.

The type of care provided utilizes an emotion-based care approach instead of a checklist institutional care setting, according to Melchior.

“It’s [providing] a home like environment, it’s vibrant colours, it’s creating households, it’s eliciting positive memories, respecting feelings, and respecting the emotional intelligence of seniors. It’s an inclusive environment,” said Melchior.

The proposed seniors home would also have 16 specifically designed beds to serve Indigenous residents.

Children’s daycare is another component of the proposed seniors campus, which will allow the 250 people who would be working at the facility to drop their kids off close by.

“Additionally, the children present on campus will provide multi-generational opportunities between the children and the seniors to improve the effect both for the youngsters and for the seniors themselves,” said Melchior. “Modern campuses embrace wellness and that wellness as proof is provided through an entire seniors housing continuum being presented on the campus.”

There would be many different housing types at the proposed seniors campus if it moves forward.

He added that the Headwaters Seniors Village will align with Orangeville’s five priorities for an age-friendly community, as outlined in its Age-Friendly Community Action Plan.

These priorities include:

  • Ensuring that design space planning and community programs promote engagement and connectivity, reducing social isolation
  • Having the critical mass of seniors in one area, which allows for greater access to programming for better use of cross departmental resources
  • The village design being undertaken with an age-friendly lens to strengthen accessibility for integrating intergenerational elements such as including students and children into the village programming
  • Making sure that agism doesn’t precludes seniors from meaningful engagement. The concept of the proposed seniors campus features an integrated intergenerational village that speaks to the relevance of participation

Meanwhile, the purpose for Melchior’s presentation last Monday was to request that the Town of Orangeville offer up the Humber Lands at fair market value to be purchased by Primacare Living Solutions.

While they declined to do so at that time, and instead requested that a report come back with further information from Town staff, Mayor Sandy Brown made his support clear for the project.

He said his mother, as well as one of Coun. Joe Andrews’ family members both had to stay at a long term care homes outside of Dufferin County as there was not enough available beds locally.

“For those who are concerned about their loved ones and having them age in place in the area that they’re familiar with, we need to help this type of development move forward,” said Mayor Brown.

“In addition, we do need additional medical hubs in town and the west side of Orangeville is underserved with respect to medical hubs,” he added.

“A lot of really important and timely decisions are going to be made in the next little while and I think having this campus in that location – it certainly for me makes a lot of sense.”

However, Coun. Todd Taylor expressed concern over how much land would be used for the roughly 20-acre seniors campus, as the provincial government has certain growth requirements for the Town of Orangeville.

“It seems to me 192 beds over such a large area, we may not get the density that we would require to hit the 36,000 [population] given our land use limitations,” he remarked.

“The piece about [the] Hummer Lands that everyone who’s watching this needs to understand is that is an incredibly valuable piece of land and once we sell it and make a decision, there’s no going back.”

He went on to note that there are several different entities that are interested in the land and the final decision for how it’s used has to reflect what’s best for the town.

Coun. Lisa Post, who brought forward the motion to refer the presentation back to staff for additional comments and review, said she liked that the proposed seniors campus aligns with the Town’s National Senior Strategy and Age-Friendly Community Action Plan.

“I also really like the thoughtfulness that’s put into this type of campus because it really does ensure a well-rounded continuum of care, and I really appreciate the thought that addresses the seniors housing crisis, as well as some of the educational components,” she remarked.

Coun. Joe Andrews said he appreciated the detail and forward-thinking vision of the Primacare Living Solutions proposal for the Headwaters Seniors Campus. With his past career in post-secondary education, he said he’s happy to see that a partnership with Georgian college would allow new practitioners to learn from direct experience if the project goes forward.

He noted the PSW shortages taking place across Canada and the importance of having an adequate workforce in the long term care industry, especially with what took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Town Council will receive a report from Town staff providing a review, comments, and further recommendations with respect to the proposal and Humber Lands prior to October.

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