Construction to finally begin on new seniors' residence next to St. Brigid's Home next week


The architect’s rendition of the new senior’s residence (left) to be built next to St. Brigid’s home (right) seen from Chemin St. Louis.


The highly anticipated $6-million residence to be built next to St. Brigid's Home for semi-autonomous seniors has received the final approval necessary for construction as early as next week.

Administrators at St. Brigid's-Jeffery Hale received the go ahead in a letter sent last week from the City of Québec and the Société d'habitation du Québec, the provincial government housing agency.

The residence -- in the planning stages for ten years -- could be welcoming its first residents from the English-speaking community as early as May 2010.

"It's been a project in the works for a long time," said Richard Walling, vice-president of the St. Brigid's-Jeffery Hale board of directors administering the project, "and people in the English-speaking community have been waiting for a long time."

The number of seniors on the waiting list has nearly doubled since the health institution received preliminary approval for the project last July from the Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de la Capitale-Nationale.




Richard Walling, the vice-president of the St. Brigids’ - Jeffery Hale Hospital board of directors, holds the 2006 proposal for the semi-autonomous seniors’ residence which received final approval May 5 with construction slated to begin two weeks later on May 19.

There are now 180 would-be residents on the waiting list for the 39-unit complex that can accommodate anywhere from 39 to 58 residents.

The complex will have nine four-and-a-half-room apartments and 30 three-and-a-half apartments.

The SB-JH administrator is not worried the Holland Community Housing Corporation, a non-profit corporation established by SB-JH and five other community partners which has been newly charged with managing and overseeing the construction of the residence, will have to turn down too many would-be residents.

"Our consultants at Habitation Action have assured us that 180 people on the waiting list is a good figure for a project of this size," Walling said.

The Quebec City-based non-profit consulting agency on social housing projects told Walling many may not be immediately interested in moving into the residence right away while others may simply not qualify for access to the residence.

Walling said said priority will be given to English-speaking seniors earning less than $37,000 per year who have lost part of their autonomy -- for instance through a loss of physical mobility.

A selection committee within the Holland Community Housing Corporation will develop the final acceptance criteria for residents at the facility.
The selection committee will be composed of members of the board of directors drawn from the six community partners involved in the project including the Jeffery Hale Community partners, the Jeffery Hale Foundation, the St. Brigid's Home Foundation, the Quebec Ladies Home Foundation, the Citadel Foundation, and the Congregation of the Catholics of Quebec speaking the English Language.

"The waiting lists will be processed first," said Walling. "We don't want there to be false hope for the people who have been waiting."

Walling said HCHC will continue to accept new names for the residence since there will always be a need to fill vacancies as residents age over time.

The project, the first of its kind in Quebec City's English community, has been stalled several times since its inception in 1999.

The first proposal submitted in 2002 was abandoned a year later when soil tests on the proposed building site in Sillery proved that the soil was contaminated with heating oil.

Later, a two-year building moratorium banning construction on Chemin St. Louis further frustrated efforts for the project, Walling said, when developpers eyed potentially environmentally sensitive plots of land near the St. Lawrence River.

The latest project, slated for land next to St. Brigid's Home and submitted in 2006, is the best one yet, said Walling.

It.will link the residence with St. Brigid's Home via a tunnel so that residents can use facilities like the cafeteria, the concession stand or the hair dresser.

"We've been waiting a long time, but this one is better than the project ten years ago," said Walling.