A Collingwood resort is offering its own solution to the shortage of senior housing by adding retirement homes to existing hotels and lodges.
As part of Monday’s (June 12) Development and Operations Services Standing Committee meeting, councilors considered a Living Stone proposal to convert and expand the Living Stone Golf Resort and Club Cranberry site to add a new 129-unit Living Stone retirement home. at their Keith Avenue location.
Larry Law, owner of Law Cranberry Resort Limited, spoke to councilors as part of the presentation of his vision to address the housing shortage for the elderly in Collingwood.
“It has always been my personal passion – what can I do for my community?” says Law. “I hope this project can show that it is a good contribution, especially when it comes to complete communities.”
The property (2.2 hectares) currently houses the Living Stone Golf Resort (formerly Cranberry) including the Club Cranberry building (timeshare).
Proposed changes include converting the existing three-storey Club Cranberry building (plus basement) to add a two-storey addition above to create 69 retirement home units. A three-story addition would be added above the Living Stone Resort’s existing restaurant and pool, as would a five-story addition in front of the existing garage and delivery room for an additional 60 units.
The proposal includes approximately 13,000 square feet of amenity space, including dining rooms, lounges and fitness facilities to be used exclusively by residents of the retirement home. A total of 215 parking spaces, including eight accessible spaces, 25 bicycle parking spaces and two delivery spaces are also offered to support the various commercial uses for the entire site.
If the development is approved, the entire property would eventually contain a combination of uses, including the new retirement home. The 101-room hotel, restaurant, conference/banquet facilities and recreational facilities, including an indoor swimming pool, would still be part of the site. Canopy cover is expected to increase from 14.9% to 48% at the site under the new plans.
The property’s current zoning – resort commercial – allows senior living units.
“It’s a unique form of mixed use,” Coun said. Deb Doherty at the time of advisers’ comments. “When I think about what mixed use is, I would never have put these two senior living and resort applications together.”
“It’s a very efficient use of space and resources and it’s definitely something this community needs,” she said.
Law noted that the nursing home units would be rentals, with three meals a day provided as part of the rental agreements. Doherty also asked how the two uses would come together and whether Law anticipated conflicts between seniors and resort guests.
“The idea of being next to a hotel where there might be late-night parties or weddings might not be something an older person would find appealing,” Doherty said.
Law said the two uses would be completely physically separated, with no shared spaces between the retirement home and the complex. However, he noted that the “innovative” part of the combination is that elderly families could stay at the resort and stay close to their elderly family members.
“Our resort is very family-oriented, which is very different from, say, Blue Mountain,” Law said. “They’re more (oriented towards) the party (use) and young people, but for us, our marketing position is for families.”
With respect to water use, the City of Collingwood Planning Departments conducted a merit-based assessment of the proposal under their Service Capacity Allocation Policy (SCAP). The proposal received a total score of 58.5 points out of a possible 95 points (62%).
It is estimated that the development as proposed will require an additional 75 dwelling unit equivalents (SDU) of water capacity. The proponent is requesting a waiver of the Interim Control Bylaw.
“Planning Services note that the proposed development provides retirement units for the elderly and represents an innovative housing solution in a non-residential development which Council may choose to consider as further merit of the proposal,” noted Lindsay Ayers , responsible for planning with the city of its report to councillors.
After discussion, the committee voted unanimously to approve the site plan amendment and exempt the project from the Interim Control By-law. The matter is not yet settled and will be before the board on July 25 for another vote.