Proposed assisted living facility gets cold shoulder

Alisha Morrissey
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Richmond Hill area not the right place for it, residents say

Nearly 75 residents of a Kilbride neighbourhood turned up at a public meeting at City Hall Tuesday night to oppose a 69-room assisted-living seniors’ home proposed for the area. — Photo by Alisha Morrissey/The Telegram

Residents of a Kilbride neighbourhood say they’re not against seniors, rather the high-density development in their neighbourhood and the likely impacts an assisted-living facility will have on traffic.

About 75 neighbours from the Richmond Hill area attended a public meeting at St. John’s City Hall Tuesday night to oppose the building of the facility in a vacant lot area behind a number of homes.

The residents had a long list of reasons the lot wasn’t an appropriate place for the development, and even though they spent most of the two-hour meeting outlining them, proponent Sean Callahan said afterwards that it was a positive discussion.

“If every neighbourhood said no to a seniors’ assisted living or to a care facility, where are we going to put the seniors who live alone … and can’t look after themselves and can’t or don’t want to go into a nursing home and family members can’t always be around to look after them?” Callahan asked. “It’s not about me against them. It’s about demographics and that’s life. Our seniors are living longer, and they want to live on their own longer.”

The proposal for a three-storey, 69-room assisted living facility was laughed at when explained by the developer, and a presentation by concerned citizens calling into question city development regulations was given a standing ovation by the crowd.

Sarah Colbourne-Penney, a resident of the area, said the developer was using an emotional issue to get his development built.

She asked whether this was a location in which seniors would want to live, a question she then answered from a report she’d found online about ideal conditions for seniors’ housing, including the need for nearby amenities and flat terrain for walking.

Still others argued there are other seniors homes in the area, including Ruby Manor, St. Luke’s Home and Glenwood.

Many concerns were centred on the intersection at Old Bay Bulls Road, including concerns from Jean Grant and her husband Dave Burry, who were the first family to build in the area.

After 21 years in the area, she said she’s still griping about the intersection she complained to the city about when she first moved in.

In those years, Grant said, no one at city hall has been able to tell her why the intersection works the way it does or why it hasn’t been changed.

Several people talked about the number of young children in the area and the danger to them from increased traffic.

Daryll Budgell asked why the open space Callahan wants to build on couldn’t be a park for the kids in the area.

Peter Duff said he was also concerned for the safety of his daughter — a new driver — who would have to navigate the area near their home.

“It is clear we have the dumbest intersection in the city,” said resident Dean Menchions.

But Callahan argued afterward that traffic isn’t his concern — especially the functions of the intersection. He says that’s the city’s issue.

“Put them where they still have family connections in the area and friends in the area. They shouldn’t be banned because of traffic,” he said.

Further, he said the people at the meeting weren’t out fighting against more subdivisions in the area, although that would add more traffic.

“The councillors have a duty to look after all areas of our population. … If the city doesn’t allow it we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but I think the councillors are all reasonable people.”

Geographic location: Richmond Hill, Kilbride

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Recent comments

  • Kilbride Home Owner
    October 28, 2010 - 13:01

    It seems that the people that don't live in the area have gotten the wrong message. There are a multitude of reasons for not rezoning the property, but I will focus on one. Call the proposed building what you may, but why rezone to allow a commercial enterprise to set up a three story building in your backyard. I don't think there are many home owners in St. John's who would like that to happen to them. There is enough properly zoned property elsewhere in the city to find a location for this business.

  • Neil
    October 27, 2010 - 12:24

    I'd be interested to see how many in the neighourhood who didn't turn out for the meeting actually like the idea. I'm sure there are more than 75 people living up there. Most of these 75 were husband/wife so you're really only looking at 30+ households that disapprove. Sad really.

  • Brad Bowdoinham
    October 27, 2010 - 12:10

    Wow, and I thought Newfoundlanders were nice people and I see this? Jeeze, that's really encouraging to see from a new resident of the province...

  • Kent
    October 27, 2010 - 10:47

    Listen up Kilbride, traffic and cars are an inevtiability. It's called progress. These people amusing; they get all their big houses built and then when someone else wants to move in, they're suddenly concerned about traffic flow blah, blah, blah...Funny, they weren't too worried about traffic or its impact on existing residents when they were building their big homes.

  • NLNSCouple
    October 27, 2010 - 10:19

    My wife and I are currently reviewing plans to open a seniors retirement home back on the Avalon ourselves. Its very interesting/surprising to see peoples reactions of such developments in their area. People complaining about the increase of traffic and worrying about their daughter who is a new driver, having to navigate through this increase is pathetic. Cities grow and expand, these facilities are a normal part of this growth. The population is getting older and in the next 10-15 years the increase need for retirement homes is going to be booming as our "baby boomers' are going to need more of these facilities. The people who are currently complaining about this development will be the same people who are complaining to government about not being able to find affordable retirement living within province in 10 years. Another note on this, is there are seniors currently taking up beds in hospitals around the province, while awaiting for placement in nursing home. I assure you these seniors would much rather be in a retirement home then a hospital, when they are ready to do so. The people complaining about this development, are probably the same people complaining about hospital overcrowding and wait times.

  • Chris
    October 27, 2010 - 09:51

    The people in that picture look like they should be moving in to the senior's complex not lobbying against it. Besides how often do seniors drive? Two or three days a week at most. This hardly supports grounds for a future traffic problem.

  • Chuck to Donny Dooley from Dildo
    October 27, 2010 - 09:45

    Donny should be made apolozie to the people of Kilbride for the comments. thatt he made. For his information, there are fine homes in kilbride and fine people. Why not stay in Dildo Donny and keep your sarcasm to your self.

  • Trudy
    October 27, 2010 - 09:28

    I am with Darl S on this one, where do families bring their kids when they want a night out ... to the grandparents... funny they are useful then but not now. Let the seniors get a chance to be able to live by themselves and not stuck in some home when the son or daughter might visit them maybe every other Sunday. Don't forget people if it wasn't for the seniors you wouldn't be here, they are someone's mom and dad too.

  • Schwenk
    October 27, 2010 - 09:17

    Newfoundlanders are kind, generous, friendly people. Now, keep repeating that to yourself until you believe it.

    • California Pete
      October 27, 2010 - 12:13

      Right on SCHWENK it is the truth

  • SanTo
    October 27, 2010 - 09:03

    I think it would be less likely to have more traffic with an assisted living facility as most of those living there will not be driving cars! If they need assistance with day to day living, they certainly won't be driving. I am from Kilbride also, I know the area well, and it is a very bad intersection, that is the city's concern. There is room for developement, and if 50 new homes went up, than you are looking at that many new drivers at least, 2 car family, then 100 cars. If traffic is the issue, then the senior complex would be the better option. But think of the potential plus. You would probably have better snow plowing in the winter, as there would alway have to have emergency access. And you'd probably get that intersection fixed up. You might get a couple of walking trails up that hill too, as the seniors would require some kind of outdoor area.

  • darls
    October 27, 2010 - 08:07

    Snob Hill is really living up to it's name.....remember people one day you will be old yourselves and where do you want to be living??? Grow up and show some respect to these people who helped make our fine province the place is is today.....

  • Mark
    October 27, 2010 - 07:01

    Next thing they will be complaining that the seniors are up at all hours of the night partying and keeping them awake...or the sounds of their harleys are disturbing...get real, it's a 69 unit complex, not a 400 room hotel.

  • Donny Dooley Dildo NL
    October 27, 2010 - 06:55

    Kilbride has to be the most run-down, dilapidated area of the city. I have no problem putting a modern building there to spruce it up a little. It would be nice to see a building in that neighbourhood that doesn't have a satellite dish stuck off the eve.