About 70 people attended a noon hour public meeting Tuesday on an enhanced seniors housing proposal for Moosomin. It was one of four meetings Tuesday.

Organizers happy with intergenerational living response

Orange Tree Living meetings in Moosomin

September 3, 2019 7:47 am
Kevin Weedmark

Organizers are happy with the response after four meetings last Tuesday to gauge interest in an intergenerational living facility in Moosomin.

The proposal would be to develop the new facility next to Pipestone Villas, so that services in the new facility could be offered to residents in the existing Pipestone Villas buildings.

About 60 people came out to a public meeting over the lunch hour Tuesday to gauge interest in the new facility, about twice as many as organizers expected.

There were three other meetings that day—with current Pipestone Villas residents, with current Pipestone Villas investors, and with potential new investors. All the meetings went well, say the organizers, and showed them there is strong interest in the proposal in Moosomin.

Larry Scammell of Firebird Business Consulting said all the meetings went well. “We had two different conversations; one relating as best as we could to care and the need for care, and the second more focused on an investment conversation.”

“So the appetite was strong for both,” Scammell says. “I was impressed with the lunch meeting, there were 67 people in that room and it could have been more, because I didn’t count at the end. I think on the care side we saw about 105 people in total between the public meeting and the meeting for Pipestone Villas residents, and it was a consistent conversation, I felt. I don’t think people were holding back on anything.”

He said the meetings were all about finding out what the community needs and wants before formalizing a plan.

“We’re trying to engage first, which I think for us is really important. We want to come in and make sure we’re respected. We’re doing everything we can to make sure that everyone knows we’re in this for the long haul.

“Today was about gathering a needs assessment and next time we come back we’re going to say what we think the community needs, and look at the plot of land and the building that would fit best. It was clear that people needed to understand what the different levels of care were as far as the government is concerned, and then where this would fit. This isn’t intended to replace government care, but will augment government care as it stands today.”

Scammell said they tried to emphasize to Pipestone Villas residents that if the new facility moves ahead, services could be provided to them in their current homes.

“We tried to come to them with offering a service that would keep them in their unit, potentially forever, and they wouldn’t have to go anywhere else. I think as we continue on down that road and make it more tangible, they’re going to be surprised and understand that they don’t need to make plans to leave.

“I think they needed to understand the Age in Place model. So going from the two buildings that are there now, you need more care, you’re either going to get it in the building you’re currently in, or in another building depending on the care that you actually need to fill in the gap that has been identified.

“A lot of the questions were based on the assumption that they would be living in the new building, but they might not need to live there or might not want to live there. The question we’re considering is what are the needs today, and how do we think that those needs are going to change. It is going to change.

“What we’re doing is asking, if we’re going to be doing an investment for you, if it fits what you’re looking for, is the cash flow more important, or is the social ROI more important? We did get some good feedback there. So what we’re going to do is come back with a structure that will make a lot of sense for a lot of people.

“When I talk about Age in Place it is not about going from Pipestone 1 to 2 to 3, it’s being able to feel that you will be able to age in place in Moosomin. People could move but they don’t want to. But in the government system you get to the point where you need more care, you’re in the system, and you need to move 150 kilometres away.”

What are the next steps for the group?

“We have a lot to think about,” says Scammell. “We need to put some more shape to what we think can exist there and put some numbers to it and prepare to come back to both the care need in the community that we saw and also to the investment need. That’s going to take us at least two months.

“Investment dollars won’t be difficult. It’s a real neat opportunity to have choice in this situation. It doesn’t happen often, but it does here.

“I think it gives an opportunity to the community to feel proud of the facility as well and know that people are staying in the community and that those services are being provided. It’s an investment as far as dollars are concerned, but it’s also a social investment. It’s going to keep the community together. As the baby boomer population ages, they become more immobile and we need to deal with that.”

The group plans to come back to Moosomin with a proposal.

“As soon as we’ve assembled what we need to come back with on an investment level, we’ll come back,” says Scammell.

“Investment will be largely the focus, with the exception of if there needs to be a focus group for fine tuning what will happen. That’s at least two to three months from now.

“One thing we determined today is that there is local interest, and thanks to the paper for getting the word out. The meeting at the Sportsplex was probably double what I was expecting. The first meeting was about as many people as expected. On the investment side too it was exactly what I anticipated it would be. All in all it was very successful. We saw that people are very interested.

“Now it’s a business decision that’s backed by social values.

“Now we have to sit down and see if the piece of land is big enough for what the need is for the community, and then is it economically viable to be able to do it, as well as from the Town’s standpoint, what incentives may be asked for and what incentives may be allowed.”