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HomeNewsShovels are in the ground for the new Fairvern Long-Term Care Home

Shovels are in the ground for the new Fairvern Long-Term Care Home

The ceremonial shovels are in the ground, and the real ones will soon follow.  

Officials from the provincial government, District of Muskoka, and Town of Huntsville were on-hand at what is currently a flat piece of land full of rocks at Centre St. N. However, in two years it will be the home of the new Fairvern Long-Term Care Home.  

The home will be operated by the district and is expected to be open by the fall of 2025. There will be 160 modern long-term care beds, which is 84 more than what the current Fairvern at 14 Mill St. has. According to the province, the rooms will be a mix of private, semi-private, and basic.  

The investment from the province stems from the government’s $6.4 billion commitment to build 30,000 new beds by 2028. 

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The project is estimated to cost $94 million with Julie Stevens, the district’s Chief Administrative Officer, explaining the province is covering $87.9 million. 

It hasn’t been a simple path for the project. 

The home was originally approved by district council to be built on donated land on Earl’s Rd. However, that fell through in Aug. 2021. Only a month later, the Cockwell and Doughty families gifted the district seven acres of land on Centre St.  

“No one believes in Huntsville more than Claude Doughty,” said Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Scott Aitchson, who was a two-term mayor of Huntsville. Doughty was a two-term mayor of the town as well. “So many things in this community simply would not happen if it wasn’t for Claude Doughty and this is just another incredible example,” said Aitchison. 

Doughty said the conversation with his partner about donating the land lasted “30 seconds.” As a former mayor, he said he understood the background of the situation and knew the town and district were in a tough spot. “I knew there wasn’t another option,” he said.  

He added a lot of people played a role in this and if he’s a small cog in a big wheel, he’s happy with that.  

Paul Calandra, Minister of Long-Term Care, was on-hand for the groundbreaking ceremony and pointed out they’ve heard from people throughout the province that long-term care homes should be treated like homes, not institutions. He noted how the home will be built using a model that will allow residents to continue living their lives in the community they helped build.  

“I’m thrilled for the communities of Muskoka that will directly benefit from the redevelopment and expansion of Fairvern,” said Smith. “This project is a reflection of our government’s commitment to ensuring the residents of Parry Sound—Muskoka have access to the health care services and facilities they deserve.” 

District Chair Jeff Lehman said the 47 – and counting – staff reports on updates about the project have led to this moment. 

“We are building a home, not a new facility,” said Lehman. “We are deeply proud that this new home will set a new standard for quality of life by embracing a new approach to design, based on a social model, not an institutional model. Our staff are truly at the heart of the care we provide. We are creating an environment that fosters their growth, supports their needs, and allows them to deliver the exceptional care and compassion our residents deserve.”  

Huntsville’s current Mayor Nancy Alcock said the moment is “humbling” and that she’s proud to be there representing the many people from the town that had a part in making this possible.  

“It warms the cockles of my heart,” she said with a bright smile. 

A few residents joined the festivities while the others stayed at the current Fairvern site to watch a Facebook live stream of the event. “I’m thrilled and they should be, too,” said Alcock. 

“We’re doing it for the seniors in our community, the people that are current residents and future residents,” she added. 

Buttcon East Ltd. was chosen by district council to become the contractor in Jan. 2023. While the groundbreaking ceremony was happening, they were busy moving equipment on-site to begin work. 

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