Concerns remain for seniors development

Rally held to push HRM to act quicker on proposed Fall River development

Seniors were out with signs aplenty showing their support for a proposed seniors housing project on the Carr Farm property. (Healey photo)

FALL RIVER: A proposed seniors housing development in Fall River may be a blessing and long sought after by many of the 100 seniors who attended a rally on May 30, however not everyone in the community is sold on the idea as it is.

Rob MacCormick and John Mirabelli both sat on the bench at the Tim’s observing as the rally took place down below during rush hour. There were many honks in what appeared to be support for the seniors push for the development from passerbys.

Both agree seniors housing is needed, but they feel the seniors are being misled with the current development.

“I hate to see people leave their community, but the big concern for me is this truly seniors housing?” questioned MacCormick. “Where is the proof that it is just that. That’s just with the overall project itself. You look at developers like Shannex and such, you know exactly what it’s going to be.

“In this case, it’s a grey area. Are we going to wind up with 400 apartments in our area and a handful of seniors units. We don’t know.”

Ann Bryant and David Forbes were among the 100 or so who attended the seniors housing rally in Fall River on May 30, showing their support and pushing for action by HRM to get the proposed Carr Farm property pushed through. (Healey photo)

He said there also plenty other concerns—top of mind being environmental.

“It’s at the top of the hill that runs into the local water system that feeds through this area, there will be traffic concerns,” he said.

MacCormick said when he went door-to-door in his neighbourhood, which is situated behind the proposed location, many of them were unaware of the proposed project.

Mirabelli said people have to understand the impact, and things are sliding through that’s not the case.

More than 100 seniors who are in support of the proposed seniors housing development lined the sidewalk in front of the Tim Hortons in a rally organized to bring awareness and keep the heat on Halifax Regional Municipality for the approval of the proposed Carr Farm development.

Councillor Steve Streatch, who showed his support for the project by attending the event, made the mood more optimistic saying that an update is forthcoming in the next couple of months and that a public hearing is expected by September.

“Seniors in this community have given so much, now it’s time for HRM to do the same,” said Streatch. “I support their efforts to ask for the ability to have housing opportunities in their community, communities that they helped to build.”

Councillor Steve Streatch talks with Jim Walsh at the seniors housing rally on May 30 in Fall River. (Healey photo)

He said at the public hearing it will be important to have as many voices out to be heard.

Streatch said a recent N.S. Human Rights decision allows for the development to be marketed as seniors housing (55-and up). The developer, Glen Clarke, is partnering with Northwood to offer those services that are needed.

“What’s proposed here is clearly to support people aging in place, to stay in their communities,” he said.

Sandra Carr said as lifelong residents of Fall River the 100 or so seniors who came out to the rally want to get the development to proceed ahead.

“It could be a mini-0village within Fall River Village where they’ve always lived,” said Carr.

She said there will always be those who don’t want development in their areas, and the proposed seniors housing development is no different.

“If you live to be a senior you’ll want to get on the list to get there too,” she said. “Everybody gets older.”

MacCormick feels a location behind the Sobeys Fall River Plaza would make more sense.

“There are other alternatives,” said MacCormick. “It’s important for seniors to find affordable housing, but it has to be just that. It has to be just seniors housing.”

Councillor Steve Streatch speaks to seniors before the rally began on May 30. (Healey photo)

Both MacCormick and Mirabelli feel there’s a recurring theme in all of the discussion—that no one is sure of anything.

“There’s way too many people not sure about numbers and facts,” said MacCormick. “It’s great to get some people out and shake some signs, but where are the actual answers about this project?. What’s the rent going to be? How many units? How many floors? There’s no answers.

“It’s just all buzzwords and a push that’s going on.”

Mirabelli summed up his concerns eloquently.

“We’ve all bought out here to avoid the high density, apartments and stuff,” he said. “We came 20-25 minutes from work just for this environment.”