Foyer Richelieu building $30-million ‘campus’ for seniors

Foyer Richelieu building $30-million ‘campus’ for seniors

Foyer Richelieu chief administrative officer Sean Keays, left, fundraising campaign chair Milan Plentai, and Foyer Richelieu Foundation president Gilles Deslauriers on Thursday. A $30-million long-term care home is expected to be built near the current site with $5 million of the project’s cost being sought through donations. – Kris Dube,The Welland Tribune

Construction of a $30-million “campus” for seniors will begin in about two years in Welland.

Representatives from Foyer Richelieu addressed city council earlier this week to promote the Touching Lives Campaign, an effort that has a goal of raising $5 million of that final price tag — the rest being funded by the provincial government.

The project, to be built on land near the current facility, will create 128 beds at a new bilingual long-term care home on Tanguay Avenue, an increase from the 65 beds it holds today.

A second phase will retrofit the existing site with 50 new wellness suites for supportive housing, also changing its name to Maison Richelieu.

Residence Richelieu, an independent living building, will also co-exist with the new buildings.

To meet provincial standards, the 30-year-old Foyer Richelieu is mandated to redevelop by 2025, along with many other long-term care homes around Ontario that were built before 1998, equating to a replacement of 35,000 beds.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, chief administrative officer Sean Keays and honourary co-chair of the fundraising campaign Doug Rapelje petitioned the local government for a four-year commitment of $200,000 toward the project.

No decision was made, and council will consider the request at a later date.

In a recent interview at Foyer Richelieu, Keays said the ambitious project will be state-of-the-art when it’s complete but also preserve most of what already exists at the Francophone hub on the east side of Welland, such as the current long-term care residence.

“It’s a great building. We’ll do some renovations, upgrades, and repurpose it,” he said.

Rapelje, chair of Maison Richelieu’s board, said the current building after its transition, will be used for supportive housing, where clients can receive assistance with daily living activities to allow them to remain independent for as long as possible.

The new building, which will be 105,000 square feet, could allow for services like daycare, respite care, and a behavioural unit for people with dementia, said Rapelje, who is also past director of senior services for Niagara Region and co-chair of the project’s fundraising efforts.

Approximately 90 per cent of Foyer Richelieu’s 128 residents are Francophone, and 60 per cent of them are bilingual speaking both French and English.

Foyer Richelieu currently has a waiting list of 70 people.

Welland has 473 long-term care beds and there were 588 individuals waiting for one across the city by the end of 2018, Rapelje said in his presentation to council.

He also said that nine out of 10 people will wait up to 18 months for a bed at home or in the hospital, an illustration of how much need there is in the local seniors’ community.

“For some people, it will be too late by the time a bed become available,” said Rapelje.

Fundraising efforts will continue into 2021 through several events.

Across the street, a new $16-million Francophone high school is currently under construction.

Source: St. Catharines Standard