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New retirement facility to be built in Gravenhurst, one-third of units to be affordable

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A $23.3 million federal investment will help build a new, 95 unit retirement facility, primarily for seniors, people living with disabilities, or mental health issues, in Gravenhurst.

The Alexander Retirement Care Facility will be built at 520 Isaac Street. The three-storey building will feature 95 residential suites which will be a mix of bachelor, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. The building will feature a large kitchen, an activity and common area, laundry facilities, a health center and physiotherapy rooms included in the building. 

“Envision a beautiful piece of land perched high overlooking the Muskoka Wharf and the historic steamships,” Leonard Ojha, Managing General Partner for the residence, says. 

Of the 95 units, he says 30 will be affordable with 12 of them funded through the District of Muskoka. “There are some metrics in which the guidance for the affordable rates are done through (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation),” Ojha explains. 

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Gravenhurst Mayor Paul Kelly says the district is pitching in $960,000 to fund the 12 of the units.

While he didn’t say what the price range of the units will be, Ojha did say the independent living studio units will be priced around $2,500 which he claims is the “most competitive you can get” for that type of accommodation. 

The property on Isaac Street is “ready to go,” according to Ojha. He says the “bulk” of the construction will be done before summer 2022 ends, but the scheduled completion date is set for December 2023. 

“Our vision for this home focuses on how we develop and nurture staff so, in turn, these staff can develop and nurture our residents,” Ojha explains. He believes that, with this home, they are developing a “leading older adult community”. He adds that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped how the facility will be built. “Our leadership team has a strong background in acute care and thus infection control has always been a priority when designing this home,” he went on to say. 

The announcement of the new home was made Thursday morning. Kelly and Ojha were joined by Ahmed Hussen, the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Jennifer O’Connell, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Pickering-Uxbridge, and Tony Van Bynen, Member of Parliament for Newmarket-Aurora.

“These new homes will not only support seniors in the community but will have a universal design with a third of the unit meeting accessibility standards in order to support people living with disabilities or mental health challenges,” Hussen says, adding the units will be “tailored to the meet the real needs of the residents.”

The investment from the feds comes through the National Housing Strategy’s National Housing Co-investment Fund. It’s a decade-long, $72+ billion plan that will “give more Canadians a place to call home,” according to government officials.

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