By Mike Baker
The Gardens of Haliburton retirement residence will open up its doors on May 1, 2021 and with it create between 50 and 60 new jobs in the local community.
Phil McKenzie, representing one of the three partners involved in the multi-million-dollar project, informed Dysart council back on Nov. 24 that contractors were making good progress on the four-storey complex, located on Sunnyside Street near Maple Avenue in Haliburton Village.
This is good news for senior residents across the region, McKenzie says. Offering both assisted and independent living units, the Gardens of Haliburton will go a long way towards plugging a sizeable gap in the local community.
“This is an option for seniors that Haliburton didn’t have before,” McKenzie previously told the Echo. “Certainly there are condos and apartments and obviously residential homes and cottages [locally] but … if there came a point where that situation wasn’t working for you anymore and you needed some assistance, then you had homecare to a certain level, but beyond that, there was this big jump to long-term care.”
McKenzie told Dysart council that around 70 percent of people over the age of 75 will need assistance of some kind during their day-to-day life.
Once up and running, the Gardens of Haliburton will run a whole gamut of services for its residents. With 70 units on site, including both independent living and assisted living spaces, spread across three levels, staff will work alongside residents to ensure they are well taken care of, McKenzie says.
Individuals, or couples, residing in the independent living units will have access to hands-on care from nurses and PSWs, but won’t receive specifically scheduled daily care. Those in assisted living units will receive up to two hours of care per day, with additional services available on an “à la carte” basis, as McKenzie described, for an additional cost.
Suites start at around $3,000 per month for the smaller units, which includes accommodation and access to all services, and run as high as $5,000 per month for the more plush units. Around a third of the 70 units available have already been reserved. While there is some excitement throughout the community over the news the facility is less than six months away from opening, McKenzie was rather frank when talking about the Gardens and the reason they were being built.
“Our product is not something that is aspirational. Never has a couple driven by a retirement residence and said ‘you know, if everything works out perfectly, wouldn’t it be great if one day we could live in a place like that’,” McKenzie said. “We are a very needs-driven product, and people come to us because something is not working in their current situation.”
He says there are typically three reasons why people may look to move into a retirement residence – they’re not eating properly, don’t have access to a car and can’t drive anymore, or they may have lost their spouse/partner.
Having been involved in more than 60 retirement residence developments over the course of his career, McKenzie says, while the circumstances behind their relocating to a retirement facility may not be positive, he has seen many people given a new lease on life after moving in and meeting fellow residents.
“There is an opportunity to find new friends, and they live literally right down the hall, so it’s perfect,” McKenzie said.
With everything going to plan on the construction side, McKenzie says he and his partners are getting to work on building a team that can help to deliver success at Haliburton’s first retirement residence. He expects to hire a general manager before the end of the year, then look to fill other upper-management positions in the early stages of 2021.
Ward 4 Coun. John Smith was pleased to hear that preference would be given to local residents who apply for positions at the site, with the organization hoping to fill up to 60 spots, encompassing both full-time and part-time, by May 1, 2021.
Dysart Mayor Andrea Roberts said she has watched on with excitement as the Gardens project has progressed in recent months.
“It’s been a long time [from] when [Fleming] college closed there [and moved to a new location in town]. That property was going to be several different things over the years, so it’s really nice to see this actually come to fruition. Housing is a huge need in our community, and this is just one more option for people,” Roberts said.
“I think it’s fabulous. This is a wonderful addition to our township, and also the county. It’s something we’ve never had here. It’s something that so many people have had to move away for, because we didn’t have (a retirement residence) option in town,” Roberts concluded.
The Gardens of Haliburton has a sales office, located at the Haliburton Village Barn on Highland Street. For more information, visit gardensofhaliburton.ca, or contact Patti-Lou Robinson, the Gardens’ director of community relations, at 705-457-4848, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.