Although design work for the new Fairvern Nursing home has begun, occupancy is not expected to take place until sometime in 2025.
The 160-bed facility will be built on a 7.32-acre property on the east side of Centre Street North. The property was donated by Sanford Investment Corp., represented by Gareth Cockwell and Claude Doughty.
The redeveloped home will be accessed via a new municipal road. There will be parking along the front and more parking for visitors and staff along the east side of the property.
The District of Muskoka, which will be taking over ownership of the nursing home, retained architectural firm Montogerry Siasam which has been working on the home’s design, according to information provided by District staff about the home’s redevelopment during an online public meeting held on November 18.
District director of facilities Jeff Yeo said there is a conservation area to the north of the site and the intent is to keep as much of the vegetation on the property as possible “and take advantage of the topography of the site to ensure that the home has a nice civic presence on the new municipal street but it also… has good relationships with the other developments that will be built around the home.”
Yeo also said the home is expected to have a gross floor area of 135,000 square feet and noted the furthest resident to the centre of the design plan being looked at is 68 metres away, which he said is a significant improvement from other models examined. “And this is the concept of the small home design that has gone through the extended design committee and will form… the basis for the final design process that we will be following going forward.”
The building will consist of three floors and pod-style clusters of units with access to common amenity areas like a courtyard. District commissioner of health services Norm Barrette said quite a bit of work has been done on the home’s design with the intention of ensuring it is “as future-proofed as possible,” to ensure it can be easily adapted to new technology and ensure residents are well-supported with the highest standards of infection control.
Barrette also noted that the home’s preliminary design focuses on the social aspect of living rather than solely on the clinical and nursing aspects.
He said the idea behind the home’s design was ensuring that it doesn’t feel institutional, but rather “as home-like as possible and where the relationships and how people engage with their home and others was at the centre of the design.”
It is also being designed with staff in mind. “We want the new Fairvern to be a centre where employees come to work and at the end of the day they feel better than when they started their shift earlier in the day.”
The District is expected to go out to tender for the project’s construction in 2022, with shovels expected to hit the ground in the spring of 2023 and occupancy hopefully taking place sometime in 2025.
Barrette said a transition plan for transferring the home to the District is still being worked on and will be presented to District council for final approval.
Questions were to be submitted ahead of the public meeting. One of the questions involved what would happen to the lands Fairvern is currently located on. Barrette said that decision will ultimately rest with the province as the lands are a provincial asset, and said as more information comes available it will be communicated with the community.
A question was also submitted about the reason the home was not ultimately located on lands off Earls Road as was originally planned. Those lands had been donated by Pat Dubé of Greystone Construction. Barrette said servicing and development logistics were examined and ultimately the alternate location was chosen but thanked Dubé and all those involved for their time and consideration.
The home’s new administrator Tarek Moharram spoke at the meeting and said important work has also been done on the existing Fairvern, and that other projects are underway “to make sure we get to the destination and it’s not just a focus on the destination but also the journey to get there.” He thanked everyone involved and said more volunteers will be required as pandemic protocols ease. He also said additional staff will be hired as the home grows.
You can find information and submit questions about Fairvern’s redevelopment here.
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