Residents in Coniston excited for new 55-unit seniors complex

After nearly nine years of planning, residents in Coniston are excited that construction is finally underway on a 55-unit rental complex for seniors.

“We were so excited when the blasting started last week and we do have our apartment already picked,” said Pat Masson, who was at the site with her husband Bob on Tuesday. “We’re going to be on the second floor and we’re just waiting for everything process.”

“I feel good because I don’t have to worry about the yard anymore and just enjoy life,” said Bob Masson. “I don’t have to shovel and all that. Everything’s going to be done. I’m at the age now where I’m slowing down and we’ve made up our mind that we’re going to go this way.”

Dozens of residents showed up to 11 Elm St. on Tuesday as Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré announced a $17.95 million low-cost loan to help build the five-story building.

"The demand is high all across Greater Sudbury and northern Ontario so this is Phase 1,” said Serré. “The board has already said, ‘Marc we’re looking at more funding, we want more units, we’re looking at a recreational centre.’ So they want to develop this larger.”

Les Lisk, president of the Coniston Non-Profit Senior’s Housing Corporation, said it’s not a matter of if, but when the board starts planning more developments.

“We have all 55 units rented and there’s 10 on the waiting list and we haven’t advertised it yet,” Lisk said.

“So once it’s advertised and out there more and people will see how beautiful the units are – it’s going to be very first-class finish on all the units – we’ll have to go for another building I’m sure."

Once the first building is complete, he said it will be a lot easier to finance the second building.

"And hopefully we’ll have a community centre in between where we can have a therapy pool and that type of thing,” Lisk said.

Back in 2012, when the idea for the project first came to light, the City of Greater Sudbury helped make it possible.

“The City of Greater Sudbury provided 17.5 acres to enable this project to move forward,” said Mayor Brian Bigger.

“Since then, the city has also entered into cost-sharing agreements to help bring improved water services into Coniston and that also was required for development here. It’s already helping other development and investment in the community.”

Now, as construction continues, officials agree one of the most important things is allowing seniors the opportunity to retire where they grew up.

“There’s no other place I would rather be than in Coniston,” said Pat Masson.

“Coniston is a beautiful place, you know, the way it was at first and it’s just turned into a beautiful little town,” added Bob.

Officials said the building is also designed as a zero energy and green energy building, making it an environmentally friendly option for people to call home.