The University of Moncton's research and development campus is going to be home to a 60-bed nursing home for francophones.

The private-public partnership between the university, the province and Shannex RLC limited was announced Tuesday.

Jason Shannon is president of Shannex. He said this will be the first joint seniors complex university research facility in the province.

"The facility in its first phase will have 230 suites, and about 250 clients and when we're fully developed we'll have about 350 seniors living there."

Shannex plans to build on land leased from the University of Moncton on the university's research and development campus.

Lorraine Bourque

Lorraine Bourque is president of the association that represents retired librarians and professors at the University of Moncton. She said seniors are sometimes leery of asking for special services, like to be spoken to in French, so it's important to make language services available.

University of Moncton president and vice chancellor Raymond Théberge said the project will "provide an opportunity to create bridges between generations, internships and jobs for health care students and research projects on aging,"

Priority for housing units will be given to University of Moncton retirees, like Lorraine Bourque.

She is the president of the association that represents retired librarians and professors at the University of Moncton.

Bourque has been involved in developing this project since 2010. For her, today's announcement that the Francophone community will be serviced, is a relief.

"There are a number of nursing homes that has as the preferred language as English, there are some that have bilingual as a service and there were none in the city of Moncton that were French."

"Sometimes people, when they get older they will not dare say their needs because they are afraid that if they don't comply to the requirements, they may not get the services they need. So it is important that these people, without having to make specific requests will have persons that will service them in their own language."

According to the statement, the lease contains language clauses regarding the academic partnership, the language of work, the name of the complex and priority rights in relation to the rental of the units. 

"The University becomes a leader in the preservation of the language rights of the Acadian and francophone population of New Brunswick," said Théberge.

Shannex is investing $50 million in the first phase and said it will create approximately 150 new jobs for New Brunswickers in health care and hospitality services.

The project will take two years to complete.

In a statement, Social Development Minister Cathy Rogers said the project will be more than just a nursing home. 

"It is an example of innovation and partnership that is creating a senior-friendly community that fits our vision of healthy aging, where seniors are active and engaged and where the right services and supports are available to each individual."

The project will include a retirement home, special care home and apartments.