Advertisement

McAdam seniors' complex proposes mini homes out back as demand grows

A three-dimensional plot plan shows the layout for the proposed 30 mini homes.  (Submitted by Guy Gravelle - image credit)
A three-dimensional plot plan shows the layout for the proposed 30 mini homes. (Submitted by Guy Gravelle - image credit)

When the McAdam Seniors Housing Complex started seeing increased demand for its apartments, it knew something needed to be done.

Guy Gravelle, the board's treasurer, said there just wasn't room for an influx of people, so he started thinking of ways the complex in the southwestern New Brunswick town could expand.

That's when he came up with an idea: a mini-home community for seniors. Now he's manager of a project planned for property behind the complex.

Compared to a long-term-care room in a building, a mini home would provide a better quality of life, he said.

Project manager Guy Gravelle said the community will be located behind the seniors complex, and maintained by staff from the complex, on land donated by the village.
Project manager Guy Gravelle said the community will be located behind the seniors complex, and maintained by staff from the complex, on land donated by the village.

Project manager Guy Gravelle says the new community would be built behind the seniors complex and maintained by staff from the complex on land donated by the village. (Submitted by Guy Gravelle)

"Most of the residents, you know, they live in between four walls and that's it," Gravelle said of traditional long-term homes.

"Each [mini home] is going to have a front porch, so they could sit outside and enjoy the outdoors. They're going to have a little yard where they could grow flowers or make a little garden.

"It's like they're going to be living in their own home but much smaller. And maintenance free."

Although small and compact, these mini homes would be larger than the tiny homes going up elsewhere as part of the solution to homelessness.

Gravelle said a one-bedroom McAdam home would also have a bathroom, kitchen and living area and be about 540 square feet with a 144-square-foot porch. The two-bedroom would be about 775 square feet.

The community would be maintained by staff from the complex on land donated by the village.

They will cost from $125,000 to $140,000 each to complete, said Gravelle.

Mockup drawings show what the mini homes would look like.
Mockup drawings show what the mini homes would look like.

A mockup of one of the mini homes proposed for McAdam. (Submitted by Guy Gravelle)

Gravelle said the people working on the project have already had meetings with the Department of Social Development,  and a government representative would attend a March 20 public meeting about the project.

The provincial government would not grant an interview with Kathy Bockus, the minister responsible for seniors.

Spokesperson Rebecca Howland said Housing New Brunswick had not received an application for money under the Affordable Rental Housing Program and had not heard about the March 20 meeting. She also wouldn't confirm if government officials had ever talked to the McAdam group about the project.

McAdam Mayor Ken Stannix said because it wouldn't take much money to build each home, the rent could be kept reasonable for low-income seniors.

Stannix sees the project having a ripple effect on the town of about 1,200 near the Maine border and the area.

Seniors who want to live in their own places would be relieved of the maintenance burden of bigger homes, including heating costs or repairs.

This will in turn result in more housing opening up, Stannix said.

"Because these folks that move out of these larger homes then allows younger families to move into them and start raising their children."

Ken Stannix, McAdam's mayor, says senior's issues top the challenges his community is facing in the wake of COVID-19.
Ken Stannix, McAdam's mayor, says senior's issues top the challenges his community is facing in the wake of COVID-19.

McAdam Mayor Ken Stannix says the mini-home community for seniors would have a positive ripple effect in the area. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Percy Huntington, the president of the New Brunswick Seniors Citizens Federation, said he thinks the mini-home project is a great idea, as long as the homes are specifically earmarked for seniors.

"We have a lot of seniors [who don't] have all that much money, and they need someplace to live," said Huntington.

"They can't afford the rent that is going on now. … Every time you turn around, the prices are going up.

"The food in the stores is out of this world, it's ridiculous. So we need something to help the seniors."

Huntington said long-term-care rooms can be hard to get. If the McAdam project gets off the ground, he can see the idea expanding to other parts of the province.

A floor plan shows the layout for a one-bedroom mini home, which would be around 540 square feet with a 144 square foot porch.
A floor plan shows the layout for a one-bedroom mini home, which would be around 540 square feet with a 144 square foot porch.

A floor plan shows the layout for a one-bedroom mini home, which would be about 540 square feet with a 144-square-foot porch. (Submitted by Guy Gravelle)

Gravelle said phase one of the project would focus on getting low-income seniors into the homes with subsidized rent. He said the presentation on March 20 will allow members of the public to hear more about how the process would work through Social Development.

According to a website from the Department of Social Development on rent supplement programs, household income limits are based on the number of people living in the unit, whether the residence is urban or rural, and demonstrated need.

Gravelle said the homes in the mini-home community wouldn't just be available to McAdam residents. He said anyone in New Brunswick would be eligible and he's already heard from people in Moncton who are interested.

If all goes according to plan and the project is able to get the money needed, Gravelle said he hopes to be able to start by the end of April.