Affordable and Supportive Senior Housing in Port Stanley was on the agenda at the
Municipality of Central Elgin's Council meeting on June 12th, 2017. The Delegation
speaker was Wendy MacMillan, of the Port Stanley Village Association who presented a
detailed plan for additional affordable and supportive senior housing in Port Stanley.
This subject has captured the public's attention on many occasions for years now,
and hopefully now may be the time that progress on this begins.
The idea for additional senior housing in Port Stanley, like so many other ideas,
has always been a great political concern that get's hours of political traction
just before an election, but sadly dies once those ballets are counted. So here
we are again, with just over a year until the next election, on the same page in
this grand plan hoping that somehow this time around, the plan begins to take shape.
Sure, we can offer demographic information like "Over 31% of our village population
is 65 and over as of the 2016 Census and this will only increase over the next 20
years", compelling, but that information goes in one side and comes out the other
faster than you can say "Port Stanley". Also in the 2016 Census material, was the
fact that Central Elgin still has a declining population, and because of this declining
population, has been very actively trying to reverse that situation for years. A
major cause was the loss of many manufacturing jobs in the area, the effect was
that many Central Elgin residents were forced to leave the area and go to other
metropolitan centres that offered employment opportunities.
Just take a look at the course that has been charted recently by the Municipality
of Central Elgin, with all the major tax dollar spending going into growth for new
developments. Some examples include the sewage upgrades that cost $17,000,000, the
recommendations in the new Master Fire Plan which will cost $4,532,000 all necessary
because of a projected growth in new developments for the area. Because of the limitation
on available tax dollars, spending on any additional seniors housing hasn't been
on the Municipality of Central Elgin's agenda for quite some time.
Change along the Harbour has been fantastic, but some people fear that change has
come too fast using up precious Divestiture funds, money that some say should be
kept for harbour maintenance so that tax-payers are not stuck with the burden. Talk
at Council for some time, has been for the Harbour to become a successful major
tourist destination for the area with the vision of eventually selling off parts
of the Harbour lands for big new developments. With Council having the final say
on what happens on the Harbour lands, and with the newest plan for the Port Stanley
Harbour currently being developed, one can only imagine how much pressure it would
take to make Dillon Consulting take a most favourable position regarding additional
senior housing for Port Stanley's Harbour.