Slemon Park housing becoming more age-friendly

Summerside's Slemon Park Corporation has been renovating some of its homes to fit in with the World Health Organization's age-friendly concept.

Upgrades to homes on former base make them 'more compatible with today's lifestyle'

Houses built in the 1950s at the former CFB Summerside, now Slemon Park, have received some simple but important updates to make them more appealing for all renters. (Submitted by Slemon Park Corp.)

Summerside's Slemon Park Corporation has been renovating some of its homes to fit in with the World Health Organization's age-friendly concept for cities.

The former military base started making changes to its 253 rental homes both single-family and duplexes — what were called PMQ's when they were built in the 1950s on the grounds of Canadian Forces Base Summerside — when they had 34 empty homes a couple of years ago.

"We recognized that there was a need for us to maybe look at other opportunities to fill these homes," said David Anderson, vice-president of property management for the Slemon Park Corporation.

With just 900 square feet, the mostly one-and-a-half storey, 3-bedroom homes were "not necessarily compatible with today's lifestyle or families," Anderson told Mainstreet P.E.I.'s Angela Walker.

So the company decided to update them along age-friendly guidelines that were being suggested by the City of Summerside and the East Prince Seniors Initiative (EPSI).

Walk-in showers

Minor renovations allow for a stackable washer-dryer on the main floor. Walk-in showers replaced bathtubs, and bathrooms also got raised toilets and grab bars.

Renovations have been completed on 22 of the homes, and the company plans to continue with dozens more homes in the years ahead.

The corporation's rental units are now 93 per cent full, Anderson said. Of Slemon Park's 700 residents, half are age 50 and over, Anderson said, although they service all ages groups.

The company is looking at other things it can add to build a sense of community. It's hired a community co-ordinator to mount programs and services, such as a weekly Tuesday evening musical jam session. There's also a public garden and card play twice a week in the community centre.

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With files from Angela Walker