Process started for Passamaquoddy Lodge Replacement

Submitted The Passamaquoddy Lodge Replacement Complex rendering illustrates several key elements of the new lodge.

SAINT ANDREWS- The wait for a new Passamoquoddy Lodge may soon be over.

In a letter issued on March 21, the provincial government announced it gave support to the facility’s board to start securing funds. “Government understands that many aging facilities need upgrades, and we are always interested in meeting with owner operators to discuss how we can support them in that goal,” said Minister of Social Development, Jill Green. “The Department of Social Development is pleased to continue working with Passamaquoddy Lodge, and once funding is secured, to begin negotiations to develop a costing model for a renewed Passamaquoddy Lodge and Community Care Complex.”

Since the new facility must be financed by financial institutions and community organizations, the province said it will cov- er costs through per-diem rates rather than capital contributions.

“I have supported and worked positively with the Passamaquoddy Lodge Development Committee for years and I was pleased that the premier and I were able to tour the facility recently to see plans for the next stage in Passamaquoddy Lodge’s evolution,” said Minister Responsible for Seniors, Kathy Bockus. “I am pleased to have determined the next steps with Passamaquoddy Lodge. I have every confidence that the greater com- munity of Saint Andrews will rally around this exciting proposal.”

For more than five years, the board of Passamaquoddy Lodge has been working on replacing their facility and now it can move forward to the next step, according to Caroline Davies, chair of the development committee.

“When minister Bockus delivered the letter, I have to confess that I was tongue-tied for a minute, which is rare for me,” she said. “It’s been a long haul.”

Calling it “great news,” Davies said lots of work still needs to be done including taking the province’s letter to the banks.

“We met with a number of financial insti- tutions and we are moving forward to get- ting the next step accomplished,” she noted. “It’s similar to getting a mortgage so that’ll tell us what our monthly payments would have to be. Which would translate into what it would cost to maintain the facility, look after the residents, and pay back our debt.”

Pointing to the “tremendous support” from the community, including the Town of Saint Andrews, Davies said the group held two well attended open houses in January

and 400 letters of support were sent to MLAs. “I was bowled over by the number of people who would come up to the board members and staff of the lodge and say they just signed a letter and they’re thrilled with the concept,” she said. “I’m just thrilled with the support we have throughout Charlotte County. It’s not just Saint Andrews, this is going to support more than just this community.”

Noting the efforts of the St. Croix MLA in getting to this stage, Davies said Bockus’ efforts in arranging for the premier to visit the facility helped move the process along.

“Talking about things in an esoteric way is one thing but actually seeing what people have to live with and the constraints of older buildings, is probably the best argument for moving forward,” she said.

According to the province, the new complex will be a series of residential homes instead of the traditional institutional model. They said the space will include a community activity hub for seniors, as well as an additional 100 spots for child care.

Davis said the community hub will provide a core level of support for people who want to stay in the area.

“We believe that this is the way to go,” she said. “I don’t believe that we need to put seniors who can no longer live in their homes  in  institutional-like  facilities. They need and deserve to be in a facility where they feel like they can welcome their family there as if they’re in their own home. We’re keeping the daycare as part of that, I think that is also critical to ensuring the health and well-being, both mental and physical, of our seniors and our children.”

Davies hopes the negotiations with the province will not be protracted. After that, she said they plan to finalize designs and specifications for the new facility, before they invite construction bids, which she expects will take a year. She added that construction is scheduled to take two years.

“I’m hoping by late 2027, we would be moving people into their new homes,” Davies added.

Jake Boudrot

A graduate of St. Francis Xavier University and a resident of Arichat, Jake Boudrot is an award-winning journalist with decades of experience as a freelancer, reporter and editor representing media outlets across the Maritimes.