The so-called “grey wave” of seniors sweeping through Canada’s demographics is rolling through Abbotsford’s housing market.
City hall is reviewing plans to expand Maplewood House, which would make it the biggest retirement facility in the city.
The non-profit Maplewood Senior Care Society currently operates its namesake 78-bed nursing home at 1919 Jackson Street. The society also has a sister operation, MSA Manor, which has 34 clients.
The planned expansion would see the construction of four four-storey independent living buildings containing approximately 264 units.
There would also be a quartet of four-storey long-term care buildings which would contain approximately 180 units, as well as first-floor commercial and office space.
Four duplex buildings would provide additional independent living units along Jackson Street.
Maplewood House CEO Ricky Kwan explained that the present facilities use only 40 per cent of the land that could be developed at the Jackson Street site.
At the same time, there are waiting lists to get into Maplewood. As the post-war generation of “baby boomers” ages, there is a growing demand for seniors’ services of all kinds, including housing, said Kwan
People who want to transfer to Maplewood from another home will generally wait a full year.
“It’s a big issue. We’re always full,” he said.
The expansion would ultimately see beds for 444 seniors, who would be offered a broader spectrum of support services, said Kwan. The entire development would be completed over a 10-15 year period.
The commercial space would be offered for health care and seniors-oriented services, and would include a bistro and area for socialization.
It is a plan that has been in the works for about two years.
Kwan said Maplewood must negotiate with the Fraser Health Authority for funding, and engage investors for the capital expenses for the project.
On Monday, council voiced its approval of the concept and advised staff to prepare the needed zoning amendment.
“This is an excellent mixed use development,” said Coun. John Smith adding the need for these types of facilities is vast.
Mayor George Peary noted that the close proximity of the development to the Abbotsford Hospital “makes this site invaluable.”
Kwan anticipates that Maplewood could break ground on the first two nursing home buildings this spring.
They would be two and a half years in construction, and he estimates this first phase would be ready for occupancy in about three years.
It would add 80 nursing home beds.