Grey County is looking at the possibility of much more than a long-term care home on the property in Durham where it plans to build a new Rockwood Terrace.
County council has approved hiring a consulting firm to assess the affordable housing needs and build options for the site, which could include other living accommodations, including a campus of care, non-profit housing and rental housing.
“Recent studies show we have a shortage of affordable housing in Grey County. This land in Durham has a lot of potential to create more options for those who need a safe and affordable place to call home,” Grey County Warden Paul McQueen said in a news release.
“As we complete the assessment we hope we can find synergies for the property that will support both our long-term care and housing needs.”
Grey County has approved hiring of SHS Consultants to assess affordable housing needs and build options for the property.
One option for the property the county has talked about in the past is a campus of care, a model used in other areas including Simcoe County, where the long-term care home is complimented with supportive services and living quarters at a different level of care, from seniors’ apartments, to retirement, assisted living or memory care facility.
Other possibilities are non-profit housing, rental housing or a combination of the models.
West Grey Mayor Christine Robinson said Thursday that she is excited to learn of the potential for the site.
“We will have a consultant assess the property in terms of what type of housing would be suitable and eventually come up with a plan that Grey County Council can consider for those lands,” said Robinson. “I think it is just an exciting time for Grey County residents and certainly the residents of West Grey.”
Robinson said the Rockwood Terrace redevelopment is an important milestone for the growth of West Grey and to serve the future needs of the county.
“Taking time to explore opportunities that supplement long-term care and potentially address housing gaps is proactive and exciting,” Robinson said. “I look forward to public consultation and working with the county and our community to move this important project forward.”
Part of the process will include public engagement which will help determine local needs, trends and preferences. The county will work with the consultants and Salter Pilon Architects to assess community needs and prepare options with costings. The completed assessment will be presented to county council in the spring.
“This study will give county council the information we need to make the best decision for this property,” McQueen said. “Once we understand our options and their cost, we as a council can decide the best path forward for our community.”
Grey County acquired the 32-acre property, directly south of the current 100-bed Rockwood Terrace, in the spring through a land swap with Durham Stone & Paving Inc. (DSPI), which received the county’s quarry quarry on Grey Road 40 in Grey Highlands.
The county is required to upgrade Rockwood Terrace from a Class B facility to Class A standards by 2025. The county was given preliminary approval by the province in September 2019 to redevelop the 100 beds at the long-term care home and allocated another 28 new beds for it. The project, last estimated at $35 million, is to be funded by the county and the province.
It is expected that the new Rockwood Terrace would require four to six acres, leaving approximately 25 acres for other uses.