Move-in date for new Gilmore Lodge uncertain

Though it “continues to progress” a move-in date for the new Gilmore Lodge has yet to be determined.

In an emailed statement, Henri Koning, director of seniors’ services for the Niagara Region said staff, residents and families will be notified of the move-in date as soon as it’s available.

Credit: Niagara Region

“Construction continues to progress, and we are working closely with the Ministry of Long-Term Care as we move to building completion,” Koning said.

At an April council meeting, Regional Councillor Tom Insinna said the move-in date had been pushed to June. A project page on the Region’s website had mentioned spring 2024, but that reference has since been removed.

Last week, Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop said in an email that it had been pushed back further, “dependent on completion of inspections and system operations.”

Whenever it does open, the new long-term care (LTC) home on Garrison Road will include 160 beds, a wellness centre, and several features to improve health and give residents control.

“The underlying premise of the long-term care campus is to create hubs of service for seniors, their families and the broader community in the redevelopment location,” Koning said, adding there was extensive consultation with staff, residents, families and community partners.

That consultation will result in heating and cooling controls in each resident’s room, a lighting plan that has dimmable lighting and a circadian rhythm design, as well as separate and intimate dining rooms, technology rooms and restorative space “to support diversity, equity, inclusion and wellness.”

Koning said residents also had a say in their preferred bedroom and washroom layout, which helped guide the design.

To keep residents healthy, Koning’s email described 16 bed “hubs” that will support outbreak management protocols, along with personal protective equipment storage being included in the millwork to reduce clutter.

Staff input also helped design a building that improves workflow efficiency and sight lines, Koning said. It was designed in line with WELL building standards.

The redevelopment page now only has 2024 as the move-in time, with a note saying they will provide “expected building completion and resident move-in dates once determined with the construction teams.”

Questions about what has caused the delays and what the next steps or plans are for the old Gilmore Lodge weren’t answered. Attempts to reach Insinna for further comment were unsuccessful.

Construction started in late 2021 after the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care put in new requirements for older LTC homes to either meet modern structural compliance standards or be redeveloped to meet those standards. The Ministry at the time also issued a capital funding program to support the cost of LTC redevelopment projects.

“Niagara Region had a few homes that did not meet new structural compliance standards, including Gilmore Lodge in Fort Erie. The Region, through review of best practice and an extensive stakeholder engagement process, started the planning for the new Gilmore Lodge,” Koning said.

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