Senior housing in Quebec in dwindling supply

Click to play video: 'Pierrefonds-Roxboro’s elderly population in desperate need of housing'
Pierrefonds-Roxboro’s elderly population in desperate need of housing
Pierrefonds-Roxboro’s elderly population in desperate need of housing – Feb 10, 2021

A drive through the West Island becomes an instant eye-opener on residential development.

New apartment blocks and condominium projects are well underway with many more being proposed; but there is also a large set of other housing starts for a growing population: senior citizens.

Homes for the elderly are a big business in Quebec where the number of people living in senior homes is among the highest in the country.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), 18.4 per cent of Quebecers above the age of 75 live in senior residences — the largest percentage in Canada.

And the vacancy rate for seniors on the Island of Montreal is on the decline. It dropped to 6.9 per cent in 2020 from 8.2 per cent in 2019.

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David Garforth, a Pointe-Claire resident, moved into a condominium from a detached home 18 months ago. The senior citizen says he’s not ready to move into a retirement home yet but he’s not surprised by the proliferation of senior residences being built to supply an aging population.

“Now they’re all in the 70s, 80s and 90s and they’ve got to decide what to do,” Garforth told Global News.

Click to play video: 'Ask an Expert: Aging and managing finances'
Ask an Expert: Aging and managing finances

“Senior residences in good quality places for seniors to live is a huge issue and one I think Quebec is going to have to face,” Vanessa Herrick, the executive director of Seniors Action Québec, told Global News.

The council of the Pierrefonds-Roxboro Borough rejected a request by a promoter to change the zoning of a parcel of land — a green space — in a residential area to build a new seniors’ home.

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Many applaud the move to protect the forested area but it poses a new dilemma — where can developers find vacant real estate to build senior residences?

“There are sites right now, commercial properties, that could be used or transformed into these types of facilities and that is something that we will continue to look at,” Pierrefonds-Roxboro Borough Mayor Jim Beis told Global News on Monday.

READ MOREPierrefonds-Roxboro borough rejects controversial seniors’ home proposal

Beis says there is a strong need to build senior homes in the same communities where residents age.

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