• James Armstrong

Hudson assisted living project for seniors on schedule


PHOTO COURTESY GOOGLE MAPS

The blue-highlighted area indicates the approximate location for the Villa Wyman seniors' housing project that remains unaffected by the recent decision to sell Wyman Memorial United Church.

The Villa Wyman assisted living seniors residence is making progress, according to Diane Ratcliffe the chairperson of the nonprofit organization responsible for the project.

“We’re on target. Our objective is to break ground in the fall of 2019,” Ratcliffe told The Journal Monday, February 11. “If all goes well, construction will happen over the winter.” The project received approval for government funding form Société d’Habitation du Québec (SHQ) in June, 2018. Flexibility plays a key role in terms of timeline when dealing with government agencies, according to Ratcliffe.

“We’ve hired our engineers and the soil testing has been done,” she added. “We can’t say anything definitive at this point because everything has to go through SHQ for their approval and feedback.”

Currently, the goal is to have architectural plans in place by late spring that will be submitted to the Town of Hudson for approval.

With a budget of approximately $4.9 million, the funds for the project will be provided as each phase is completed.

Background

The 24 units, three-floor apartment project will be built by the Villa Wyman non-profit organization and was the brainchild of Wyman Memorial United Church congregation that was publicly announced in early 2016. The plan was for the non-profit organization to purchase a piece of vacant land owned by the church and take charge of developing the project. For the project to move forward, changes to Hudson’s zoning by-laws were made during 2017.

“We wanted the project to provide long-term benefits for the town,” said Ratcliffe at that time. “One of the reasons our project received approval is that it keeps our seniors in the community,” she noted adding that its location near the center of town provides easy access to local medical services, shopping and social activities. “The sale of the land has been approved but the actual exchange of money for the lot doesn’t happen until we break ground for the project,” said Ratcliffe.

Moving forward

“I know the project appears to be moving at a snail’s pace but we are definitely on target,” said Ratcliffe with a chuckle. “We‘ve had so many inquiries from so many people about this project. Once we’re finished building this one, we should be building four more in the area.” She pointed out seniors want to stay in the communities they know and many of them require affordable care.

“A portion of this project will be subsidized care and it’s a not-for-profit,” she said. “Hudson has the oldest average population in Quebec. We need to look after our seniors.”

Future sale of Wyman Church

The recent announcement regarding the future sale of the property and building belonging to Wyman Memorial United Church does not affect the Villa Wyman project. “The Villa Wyman organization is a completely separate entity from the church,” said Ratcliffe, “although there are members of the church on our board of directors.” She noted that whoever purchases the church would be made aware of the contract of sale for the piece of property for the Villa Wyman project.

The lot of land intended for the construction of the proposed Villa Wyman assisted living seniors residence is located west of Wyman Memorial United Church. It is currently used as a parking lot accessed from Main Road through the area between the church and Stephenson Court.

The church is located at 513 Main Road on a lot at the corner of Selkirk Street.

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