$80 million Georgian Village in Penetanguishene creates opportunities and provides security for Simcoe County seniors

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Barrie Construction Report special feature

Development work continues at Simcoe County’s new Georgian Village, bringing it closer to its final vision. The adult lifestyle community has been open since the fall of 2013 and is home to both active seniors and long term care residents.

The $80 million project has been designed by Pilon Salter Architecture and replaces an existing long-term care home, originally built in 1957, and sets a new standard for seniors’ care in the province. The overall campus includes 40 life-lease apartments, 17 single storey two-bedroom life-lease garden homes, 40 affordable housing rental apartments, 42 assisted living rental apartments, and 143 state-of-the-art long-term care beds.

Though the garden homes are separate units within the campus, the other housing components are connected and linked to a central village forming the community’s hub. The community is crafted of stone with integrated landscaping, abundant glazing and natural light, setting a balance of modern design, clean lines and familiarity.

Jane Sinclair, Simcoe County’s general manager of health and emergency services, says many things are still going on behind the scenes including finishing work and resolving deficiencies. In addition, many of the amenities had been planned around fundraising efforts so there is still some active and pending construction.

“The pharmacy just opened in June and the beauty salon will open by the end of the summer,” she said. “The hearing clinic and fitness centre are also set for completion in this timeframe. The greenhouse opened in June, the spa was tendered in August and the final internal component – a woodwork shop – has been constructed but interior work is still to be done.”

Sinclair said work on the therapeutic spa had just been tendered in June and the woodwork shop will be once its $807,000 fundraising goal is met. Final landscaping pieces including bacci courts, putting greens and shuffleboard were also being tendered in June.

While much of the original work has been completed by companies able to handle the large and complex community project, Sinclair says new and smaller firms have been bidding on and awarded work on the finishing components. “These final stages have been smaller packages so we’re seeing more local and smaller companies getting involved.”

One of the project’s suppliers has been Kitchener-based Strassburger Windows and Doors, which provided vinyl windows, sliding patio doors and exterior steel entry doors for the complex’s 17 garden homes.

Marketing consultant Richard Mori says Strassburger worked closely with general contractor BECC Construction Group to manage changes from the original plans to ensure the components’ accurate custom fabrication.

Mori says Strassburger is proud to play a part in accommodation for senior citizens and those requiring assisted living services in the region. “It is one of a multitude of projects we have contributed to over the years in this market.”

The village concept will be open to Penetanguishene’s community-at-large, bringing it additional life and vitality, and once completed will include a seniors’ centre, a village medical centre with doctors, a pharmacy, adult day centre, lounges, a salon, café, library and other retail spaces.

Sinclair says as the amenity components open, evidence of the design’s social component has become evident.  “The pool table is a popular spot and draws people from all of the units,” she said. “The restaurant has become another gathering space and we’ll be starting a fine dining program Friday and Saturday nights to increase this.”

Georgian Village has been designed to provide all the community amenities anyone would expect. Sinclair says recent funding for a 12-passenger van will be used both to take residents outside the complex and to bring in people from outside the village who may want to visit but have transportation needs.

Additional funding has also been received to enhance the residents’ emergency response system, which will be supported by the community’s 24/7 staff. Sinclair says additional funding has also been received for a second Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) system. This innovative service allows for consultation with specialists around the province, avoiding the need for patients to travel.

The project has been designed be the first in Simcoe County to achieve LEED Silver certification for this type of community. Sustainability will be achieved through subtle and undetectable elements including naturalized storm water management through landscaping and gardens.

Sinclair says the comments from residents so far have been amazing. “People really feel they are home. They feel safe and secure, are enjoying the amenities that have opened and are looking forward to those yet to come.”

Visit georgianvillage.ca for more information.