Photo by: Sandy Millar
A new four-storey long-term-care home is being planned in west St. Catharines, with city council approving the zoning amendment for the facility.
Extendicare St. Catharines requested the zoning amendment on Monday night for a facility consisting of 256 beds, to be located on 1957 Third Street, south of the Pathstone Mental Health building.
The new facility is set to replace an older Extendicare long-term-care home located on 283 Pelham Road. The Pelham Road location currently offers 152 beds, meaning that the replacement of the new facility will ultimately lead to a total of 104 new beds in St. Catharines.
The new location is to offer additional long-term-care, housing and health-care options in St. Catharines. It will also provide various employment opportunities, such as nurses and other health care and support professionals, as well as job opportunities in construction.
Despite St. Catharines’ city council having approved the zoning amendment recently, the plan for the new facility has been in the works since Nov. 2020 with Ellis Don Capital.
The development of the project was on pause following a private developer from Port Weller’s objection to the zoning of the property and GM properties. Despite the hold, the Ontario Land Tribunal approved the official plan amendment in April 2022, allowing development to move forward.
Despite the long-awaited approval for the new facility, some still show concerns surrounding the project. Kevin Townsend, St. George’s councillor, has questioned why there will only be four stories in the new facility, as long-term care beds are currently in high demand, while the new location will also be in close proximity to the hospital which will likely increase the facility’s popularity.
Extendicare officials have responded by noting that they must follow the guidelines and expectations provided by the license that they are given from the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
“While I completely agree with what councillors were mentioning about the high need of long-term residences in our neighbourhoods and communities, the 256 beds is what is being proposed in this particular community given all of the constraints from design to the ministry to the location and the capacity of the land to carry it,” said Janis Dombrovskis, Extendicare director of architectural services.
Although St. Catharines mayor Mat Siscoe expresses similar qualms to Townsend, he agrees that the new facility is an overall positive move for the city.
“While I echo the concerns that Coun. Townsend has raised, it’s good to see that there are additional beds being built in our community,” said Siscoe.
In addition to the construction of the new facility, once the Third Street location is built, the Pelham Road long-term-care facility will then be decommissioned and sold.