Special to the VOICE

The Town of Pelham last week finalized the transfer of 8.56 acres of East Fonthill land to developer Samer El-Fashny for future seniors developments. The price tag was $4.7 million.

Mayor Marvin Junkin is happy to finally see the deal sealed.

“All of council has been waiting impatiently for this deal to close,” he told the Voice. “The development of this seniors complex is great news for all residents of the Town, and of course, all money received from the sale of this parcel of land will be used to pay down the [community centre] loan owed to Infrastructure Ontario.”

In addition to the 192-bed long-term care facility touted recently by Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, the development is planned to consist of a 140-suite retirement residence, and a seniors apartment/condominium complex.

The retirement residence is scheduled to begin construction next summer, with the long-term care facility planned for 2022.

El-Fashny operates other seniors facilities in Welland, Burlington and Bracebridge.

“One thing we know for certain, is that seniors want to retire and stay in their community,” El-Fashny said in a statement. “As care needs change, this development will allow the residents and seniors of the Town of Pelham to have alternative senior living accommodations that truly encompasses an ‘aging in place’ model of care, with independent, assisted and specialty care such as memory care, readily available in their community. We appreciate the continuous support from MPP Oosterhoff and Mayor Junkin as we work together with the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care to secure the 192 long-term care beds for the Town of Pelham.”

Town CAO David Cribbs said staff will now await formal development applications from the group.

“The Town is extremely pleased to have sold this land to a development partner with an excellent track record of building quality facilities that provide opportunities for Pelham residents to age in the community in a safe, dignified and comfortable setting,” Cribbs said. “We look forward to receiving formal development applications for the lands, which will ultimately add to the inventory of community infrastructure.”

Oosterhoff told the Voice last month that Niagara is behind in building infrastructure for the Region’s high seniors population.

“We’re playing catch-up at this stage of the game,” the MPP said. “These are people who built our country up, there’s people who have given their blood, sweat and tears for their communities across Niagara and Ontario.”

The parcels of East Fonthill land for the developments are described as fronting Rice Road, Wellspring Way and Meridian Way—directly across from the community centre.

A Town statement says that 200-250 health care and administrative professionals are expected to be employed at the three facilities.