A Bit of History
Boyne Lodge began as a regional vision with grass roots involvement by residents from the RMs of Dufferin, Grey, MacDonald, Morris, Roland, Thompson and the Town of Carman just over four decades ago. Local governments worked together to achieve the common objective of meeting the growing housing needs of community elders in the Boyne Valley region. This co-operation led to the development of the Boyne Lodge in 1967. The Lodge, which began as a traditional hostel for the elderly, has evolved into a 70-bed personal care home (PCH). The Boyne Lodge also provides space for an adult day program for residents throughout the region. The Boyne Towers, which provides affordable independent elderly persons housing, opened in 1979, and is attached to the Boyne Lodge.
Needs Have Changed
While the current Boyne Lodge is structurally sound and may last for many years to come, its original design does not meet the evolving needs of seniors in our region who require complex personal care. Additionally, the region lacks appropriate seniors housing options for the growing interest in both assisted living and supportive care. Without a full spectrum of seniors housing options, current and future residents in the Boyne region sometimes seek accommodations in other communities, negatively impacting the region’s economic development opportunities and social fabric.
As the baby boom generation ages, there will be a dramatic increase in the need for appropriate housing and care services for seniors. It has become evident that local governments will need to proactively build their own solutions. Three years ago, residents from the region gathered at a community meeting and called on local leaders to provide a similar role that past leaders accepted in the 1960s to ensure the sustainability of each of the region’s communities.
Councils recruited a group of local residents to begin developing a plan for a new PCH. That group consisted of Kelvin Smith, Chairperson; Les Vanderveen, Vice-chairperson; Linda MacNair, Secretary; Shawn McCutcheon, and Barbara Lepp. In addition, a Community Council with members from the various municipalities also provide input and feedback to the Board. Brent VanKoughnet serves as Chairperson of the Community Council. The committee contracted consultant Gordon Daman, who was integral to the successful completion of a similar project in Niverville, to be an advisor to the project. Community meetings were held throughout the region to build support.
A community non-profit corporation called Boyne Care Holdings (2016) Inc., whose sole members are the five regional governments in the Boyne Lodge catchment area, has been created to own the facility. The original group recruited to develop the project continues to remain wholly involved as the Planning and Development Committee of this corporation. A business plan has been created to show in detail how the first phase of the project can be built and financed. The first phase includes the construction of a new 80-bed PCH integrated with the existing Boyne Lodge and Boyne Towers. Once the PCH is completed, the plan calls for the existing PCH to be upgraded, with the top floor to be waiting placement rooms for people waiting for a PCH bed in the region, and the main floor converted to office space for employees of Southern Health-Santé Sud. Future phases include conversion of some suites in the Boyne Towers to supportive housing suites (depending on the availability of government funding for services), and the integration of an assisted living complex (depending on demand) to create a true “Aging in Place Campus”. Future phases also include the potential for development of assisted living housing in communities in stakeholder municipalities. The business plan has been reviewed by the provincial government and the first level of approval has been obtained. The Committee is now gathering data and fundraising for the next level of approval.
Check out the Boyne Care website at www.boynecare.ca for more details, and watch for more information as the plans proceed.