A massive new independent living complex for seniors in Takhini has received a windfall from the federal and territorial governments.
The two levels of government are providing millions of dollars of funding for the project.
At a new conference Tuesday morning, the federal government announced it’s providing up to $34.5 million in the form of a mortgage, while the territorial government is kicking in approximately $4.5 million. The City of Whitehorse is providing a $500,000 matching municipal grant.
The 84-unit Normandy Manor development will be built and operated by KBC developments, a local partnership of Ketza Construction, Borud
Enterprises and Northern Vision Development. The company is investing $25 million of its own money into the project.
The dignitaries participating in the news conference included Ahmed Hussen, federal minister of Families, Children and Social Development and minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), along with the Pauline Frost, the territorial minister responsible for Yukon Housing Corp. (YHC), and Yukon MP Larry Bagnell.
They said Normandy Manor will help fill a gap in the housing continuum—housing for Yukon seniors who cannot live independently, but who are not ready to move into continuing care.
When complete, the YHC will have access to 10 units in the building as part of its community housing stock for the duration of the mortgage, which is 50 years.
The rent there will be based on 80 per cent of the Whitehorse average. The remaining units will have prices set at market rates.
The facility is already under construction on Range Road. It’s scheduled to open late in 2022.
It’s unclear what the definition of senior is for qualifying for the housing, or how the operators plan to select tenants, although it seems certain to attract more interest than units.
The participants in the news conference were unclear as to whether the money for the project had been previously promised – even though the
construction is underway.
In fact, the Yukon government had said it was providing $3.5 million in funding during the fall 2020 sitting of the legislature. Hansard recorded Premier Sandy Silver making the comment last Nov. 9.
Frost said the Yukon government found the money to put in to the construction “late in the year.
“As we promised in the Housing Action Plan for Yukon, we are working hard to contribute to a sustainable and resilient housing continuum for the
territory,” Frost said in a news release that was delivered following the announcement.
“It’s innovative and creative,” she added during the news conference.
“This supportive seniors’ housing project is also an example of delivering on the recently released Aging in Place Action Plan, and demonstrates what we can achieve through effective partnerships between the private sector and municipal, territorial and federal orders of government.”
“Yukon’s seniors deserve a healthy and affordable place to call home,” added Bagnell.
“Through the co-investment fund, our government is working hand-in-hand with the territory and private partnerships to ensure an increased stock of senior specific affordable housing.
“I see the housing challenges every day,” he added, saying he has worked on the issue for years.
“On behalf of council, I am excited to see more supported housing for seniors in our community,” said Mayor Dan Curtis, who also attended the news conference.
“We are proud to contribute to this project through a development incentive and we will continue to work with our government and First Nation partners to help people attain housing across the housing continuum.
“We are happy to see more seniors staying in Whitehorse, and projects like these will encourage even more.”
Curtis waxed poetic in further comments, calling the project “beyond biblical” and something the city “could never contemplate on its own.”
“Housing is a priority for this council, and we are incredibly grateful.”
Hussen said, “Normandy Manor is testament to what can be achieved when all levels of government come together with a shared purpose, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact this project will have on the community in Whitehorse."
The facility will feature 24-hour staffing, along with light housekeeping and meals.