Work is underway off the Ferry Road in Cornwall, P.E.I. to create what developers are calling a multi-stage seniors housing complex, unique to the Island.

John Horrelt, one of the developers on the project, said the plan is to put up two seniors-friendly apartments — 60 townhouses, as well as a 60-unit community care facility, all on a single six acre lot. 

"We hope to offer different stages of living," said Horrelt. "You can have full independence, have care in a care facility, and everything in between. So, if you live in a apartment, you might participate in a meal program with the care facility, or participate in monitoring services since we'll have staff there 24/7. It's a more friendly progression of aging."

'I've had several families that have had to move out of Cornwall because they couldn't find seniors housing.' - Heath MacDonald, Cornwall-Meadowbank MLA 

Horrelt said he and two partners bought the land and started planning the project a few years ago, after hearing from residents and politicians in the area about the need for seniors housing in the Cornwall area. 

"They had noticed there was a lot of facilities going up in Charlottetown proper, and long term residents of this area — and it's not just Cornwall, it's Rice Point, Rocky Point and so on — all these communities, residents were having to leave to find the type of property that would accommodate them," said Horrelt. 

Cornwall development

The housing development project off Ferry Road in Cornwall is just in its early stages. Developers say it likely won't be completed for another four or five years. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

'There's risk involved in these things'

While the development is being privately funded, Horrelt said officials with the town of Cornwall and area MLA Heath MacDonald have been supportive, helping guide the developers through roadblocks and red tape. 

MacDonald said getting behind the project was a no-brainer. 

"It's been unbelievable since I've been elected for a little over two years, I've had several families that have had to move out of Cornwall because they couldn't find seniors housing," he said.

"It's our fragile group of constituents, and we want to make sure they have a place to age, and age in their community."

Horrelt said he's already had inquiries from people in the area, wanting to get on a waiting list for a room.

"There's risk involved in these things," said Horrelt. "To mitigate the risk and to make sure you make a return, you have to make sure the timing is right. And I feel the timing is pretty well perfect now for what we're doing."

Horrelt said the goal is to have some of the units open by next fall, and the entire project completed within the next four to five years.