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Progress on affordable housing for seniors in Mattawa

'Council is committed to providing affordable senior housing for our constituents and this initiative has been on the radar for several years.'
2020 05 13 Mattawa Municipal Office
Photo: Stu Campaigne/BayToday

Mattawa Town Council has approved a letter of engagement — paving the way for the redevelopment of the former Algonquin Nursing Home into affordable senior housing units.

Following an expression of interest process, members of the Council and the proponent, Descon Construction Ltd., participated in a special meeting in mid-August to discuss the project. Descon indicated then the next steps would include having engineers and architects examine the building while securing financing and investigating any government funding models available. Decisions will have to be made as to whether all or part of the existing structure can be repurposed.

Mattawa Mayor Dean Backer tells BayToday, "Council is committed to providing affordable senior housing for our constituents and this initiative has been on the radar for several years."

Council has identified one- and two-bedroom units for seniors as favourable to ensuring independent living, adding the redeveloped barrier-free spaces must address the needs of the senior population of Mattawa.

The Town has long stated it prioritizes "the development of affordable senior housing in order to grow the number of affordable units within Mattawa's affordable senior housing system over the long term."

In related news, the Town of Mattawa is seeking interested parties to fill three spots on an ad hoc committee relating to the redevelopment project. The committee will be composed of six members, including three from the council and three members at large. Councillors Garry Thibert, Loren Mick and Laura Ross have been appointed to the Affordable Senior Housing Project Committee. 

The notice from the Town states, "The ideal candidates will demonstrate a commitment to, and interest in the community, have experience with seniors initiatives and be able to commit the time to attend meetings. The committee’s mandate is to oversee the development of the former long-term care property to affordable independent living housing for seniors."

The former Algonquin Nursing Home, located on 10th Street, in Mattawa, served elderly residents for 40 years. It was opened with 60 extended care beds in 1976 by Dr. S.F. Monestime and Mrs. Zena Monestime, and in 1984, one wing of the facility was extended to provide 12 additional beds.

In September 2019, the new 72-bed Algonquin Nursing Home facility built on the grounds of the Mattawa Hospital, and located across the Mattawa River from its former location, opened to residents.

"We were very fortunate to secure the old Algonquin Nursing home on 10th Street and we look forward to investing in this initiative in order to provide much-needed housing options for our seniors," says Backer.

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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