Gilmore Lodge to expand on former mall property

Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates, Regional chair Alan Caslin, Mayor Wayne Redekop and Reg. Coun. Sandy Annunziata were at the former County Fair Mall property Thursday to announce it will be the new home of Gilmore Lodge, the Regional long-term care facility in Fort Erie. Kris Dube/Special to the Times

July 20, 2017

Kris Dube

Special to the Times

A $4.2-million relocation of a retirement home will brighten the future for Fort Erie’s aging population, local politicians said at an announcement Thursday.

The former County Fair Mall on Garrison Road has been sold to Niagara Region and will become the new home of Gilmore Lodge, a facility that has been in operation since 1988.

The 11-acre property will accommodate a new long-term care home and additional residential and mixed-use facilities and could potentially attract $34 million from investors, said Reg. Coun. Sandy Annunziata.

“Not only will it provide a modern, unique, exceptional living experience for our long-term care community and their families, it will revitalize the Garrison Road corridor for the benefit of our residents and small business owners,” said Annunziata.

Gilmore Lodge is one of three retirement homes in Niagara that must be redeveloped by 2025 to comply with new building standards handed down from the province. The other two facilities are Linhaven in St. Catharines and Upper Canada Lodge in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Mayor Wayne Redekop said the plans for the former mall are very positive for Fort Erie and its senior population, which is growing fast.

“Rather than losing a long-term care facility, we’re getting an expanded long-term care facility,” said Redekop at Thursday’s press conference in front of the site.

“It allows people to age in their own community.”

Construction is expected to begin in 2019 and when completed, the current location on Gilmore Road and its 80 beds will close.

Henri Koning, director of senior services for the Region, said it is unknown how many beds the new facility will offer but there will be enough to address the needs of the community.

“The intent with this campus is to look at not only providing more long-term care beds, but other services that would help to defer or avoid the need of long-term care placement so the beds can be used for people who truly need them,” said Koning.

Regional chair Alan Caslin was also at Thursday’s announcement.

“Redeveloping this home is an important part of our council’s plan to improve long-term care facilities and services across Niagara,” said Caslin.

The County Fair Mall has been empty for more than four years. Built in the early 1970s, it was once home to an IGA grocery store, Zeller’s, Biway, a shoe store, a CD store, Shoppers Drug Mart, and a movie theatre.

Gilmore Lodge administrator Beth Plato-Giles said staff at the home are thrilled about the soon-to-be new location.

“We’re super-excited that we’re here, we’re local – it’s come together and we have a great future to look forward to,” she said.

Source: Fort Erie Times