“Our big issue was getting access through to the property,” said Gary Barton, president of the Van Kleek Senior Citizens Manor (VKSCM). The latter is a non-profit group that wants to build a 30-unit addition to its existing seniors retirement facility on Derby Street.
Barton commented on the results of Champlain Township council’s November 14 session. Council set aside a resolution from its October committee of the whole session to sell for one dollar its municipal property at 79 Derby Street, for use as part of the VKSCM project. The property consists of the old Champlain Nursery building and surrounding land.
Instead, council approved a “friendly amendment” proposal from Councillor Peter Barton, to keep the property as part of the municipal land bank, and instead allow the non-profit group access through the old nursery property to the site, where the proposed seniors housing project will be located.
“I don’t think we can sell you the building right now,” said councillor Barton, adding that his suggestion still allows the non-profit group’s project to go ahead.
“We are not against the project, we are 100 per cent for the project,” said Mayor Normand Riopel, adding that the township cannot afford to give away land assets that could provide future municipal revenue. “There is more potential that could happen with that lot.”
The mayor also suggested the township could also offer a limited amount of free permit approvals. This would allow a reduction of expenses on the senior social housing project.
Township council gave unanimous approval, by recorded vote, to a partnership agreement with the VKSCM, to provide assistance with the senior social housing project. That includes access through the township’s Derby Street property to the project site during construction, and allowing use of the old Champlain Nursery building for temporary office space and related uses, during project construction. Other concerns will be worked out at a later date.
The VKSCM has received $240,000 from Central Mortgage & Housing Corp. (CMHC) for a design consultant for the project and other preliminary expenses. The non-profit group expects to get the $4.5 million needed to build the project, through either a CMHC loan or other sources.
“Our goal is to try and get started on construction in the spring,” concluded Gary Barton.