The seniors housing complex project is nearing completion in Sandy Point.
Joan Bower photo
By Amy Woolvett
It wasn’t easy to convince people that a three-story seniors apartment complex was needed in Shelburne County.
In fact, it took a lot of legwork including a study to back up the claim and surveys to local people to make sure the apartments would be filled.
“It has been quite a long road from when this first got together until now,” said Joan Bower chair of Shelburne Seniors Housing Inc.
Bower had first approached the non-profit group Atlantic Baptist Housing in 2010 and since then a lot of work went on behind the scenes to make the project a reality.
“The whole committee has worked very hard,” said Bower. “They have added a diversity of skills to the table and have been dedicated.”
After years of hard work their labour is seeing fruition as the building nears completion.
It didn’t take long for the three-story apartment building to be erected. Most of the building was prebuilt in the Maple Leaf Homes warehouse in New Brunswick and shipped in pieces.
“It was put together like lego,” said Bower. In less than a month nearly the entire structure was built.
Bower said there is still a lot to get ready before people can move in.
In the next few weeks it will be hard to miss the sunshine yellow siding that will be put up.
While it may seem quieter on the grounds of the Sandy Point senior’s complex, there is a flurry of activity going on inside.
Workers are actively connecting water, sewer and electricity as well as completing finishing work like tiling, painting and artwork.
The canopy will also be erected in the coming weeks.
Bower said their were some issues hampering the completion date including power and wind issues.
“It was difficult to get roofing done in the winds we’ve been having lately,” she said.
As well they needed to resolve a power supply issue to the many workers, further slowing down schedules.
But even with these delays, the end is right around the corner.
Despite this there are still only about half of the units rented out.
“We think there are quite a few waiting to see the units before committing,” said Bower.
She said they have been garnering interest from all over the Atlantic Provinces.
“We are encouraged by this,” she said adding it would be nice to see some in migration come as a result of the project.
She has known people from the community needing to move away from Shelburne County because of the lack of appropriate housing in the past.
She said while the prices of the rentals may seem steep, with units starting at $925 for a one bedroom apartment and $1200 for a 3-bedroom apartment not including heat and hydro, the cost sometimes is lower than that of owning a home.
“Once you factor in repair, taxes and maintenance, it is still sometimes cheaper without even the mortgage,” said Bower.
“People might find their expenses might actually go down,” she said.
The total cost of the 40-unit building was $5-million.
They have plans to build a second unit but not until the first unit is full.
They have now started sources local companies to supply the appliances and to complete some of the work left in the complex.
“It’s been a long gestation,” joked Bower. “But the baby is about to be born.”