Thunder Bay

Conmee Township seniors' housing plan moves forward

The mayor of Conmee Township says the community's planned seniors' residential complex will mean more people can stay in familiar surroundings as they age.

Construction on first phase of The Pines on Hume complex slated to begin next year

Conmee Township is planning to break ground on its new seniors' housing complex, called The Pines on Hume, next year. (Conmee Non-Profit Housing Corporation)

The mayor of Conmee Township says the community's planned seniors' residential complex will mean more people can stay in familiar surroundings as they age.

Kevin Holland said construction on the first phase of The Pines on Hume is scheduled to begin in spring 2020.

"We find when our citizens get to that point in their life and they're forced to move into Thunder Bay because of a lack of services being provided in a rural area, you can see a little bit of their life leave them," Holland said.

The first phase of The Pines on Hume will be a 64-unit seniors' residence, Holland said, and will be named Rydholm Manor after the late Robert Rydholm, who served 32 years on Conmee council as both a councillor and reeve.

Rydholm passed away in 2014, and the township bought his nearly-100-acre property on Hume Road, which will be the home of The Pines on Hume complex.

"I lived just down the road from Bob, and, of course, we served on council together for a number of years," Holland said, adding that he and his wife would help Rydholm with things like meals and transportation.

"What really spurred it for me is, Bob loved living in the country," Holland said. "And the day that I had to take him into the hospital, knowing full well that he wasn't going to come home, it was difficult."

"I just thought at that time we could be doing better for our residents," he said. "And Bob isn't the only one that's been faced with that situation. Many families in the rural area have had to go through this same situation."

Holland said The Pines on Hume is geared at not just rural residents, but anyone who "really wants to experience that type of lifestyle."

The project's second phase will include an assisted living/transitional home, Holland said, while the third and final phase will be made up of townhomes for people looking to downsize.

As for the first phase, the township is currently working on an application for funding to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

That application, Holland said, should be complete within the next two weeks, and the township will be free to start work when the application is approved; the current target for breaking ground for phase one is spring 2020.

Assuming that timeline holds, Holland said residents could start moving into Rydholm Manor in 2021.

"With the completion of phase one, it'll give us the resources to move forward with phase two and phase three," Holland said. "It's exciting times for us. It's a very ambitious project for a community of our size, but all initial research is showing that this is a very sustainable and feasible project for our community."