By Cameron Ginn
Seguin Place affordable housing plans forge ahead. On Monday, April 19, route clearing began at the proposed site of Seguin Place, an affordable housing project for seniors in Seguin Township, where developer Greg Knight, left, contractor Tim Barkwell, and concerned resident Rod Villeneuve briefly discussed details about buffer zones. Cameron Ginn/North Star
SEGUIN TWP - Route clearing for the municipal road leading into Seguin Place, an affordable housing complex specially tailored for seniors, is finally underway in Seguin Township. Early Monday morning, men wielding heavy-duty chainsaws cleared an entranceway to a 12-acre lot that will eventually accommodate six five-plex homes, a $9-million development project designed with seniors in mind. “We’re finally here,” said Greg Knight, co-ordinator and co-founder of Seguin Place Inc., a construction company exclusively formed to build Seguin Place. “It’s been a long time coming.” A decade of planning for Seguin Place began more than ten years ago when senior residents started supporting the idea of establishing affordable dwellings in Seguin Township.
“There is a lack of units that active seniors can move into and live their kind of lifestyle without having to worry about extensive maintenance issues,” says Seguin Township Mayor David Conn, who, along with councillor Susan Adams, helped establish the Seguin Adult Lifestyle Community (SALC), a committee of residents and council members devoted to building homes for the elderly.
“We’re delighted to see the beginning of construction, and we expect it to be successful,” Conn said Monday evening.
Knight, also a lawyer by profession, describes Seguin Place units as handicap accessible bungalows, devoid of stairs and conducive to lifestyles of the elderly. Due to considerable demand, the first two housing units, partially funded by the provincial government, will probably be built sometime this fall and sold immediately thereafter. “I’m sure that the first units Greg is building will probably be filled as soon as they’re available,” said Tom Stockie, CAO of Seguin Township, who also played an important role in bringing the project to fruition. Weaving through Seguin Place is a maze of multi-activity trails - which the Ministry of Natural Resources permitted Knight to expand through 200 acres of heavily wooded surrounding territory - that will be made available to both homeowners and members of the community, said Knight. “There aren’t a lot of areas like this. We’re trying to keep as much of the natural landscape as we can.” To minimize the affects of construction on adjacent lots, a 100-foot “no touch zone” will be strictly adhered to, Knight said. A barrier of white cedar trees will be planted alongside the driveway into Seguin Place for additional buffering. Despite these precautionary measures, neighboring homeowner Rod Villeneuve remains irked.
He said the Ministry of Transportation has repeatedly denied his requests to relocate the entranceway further down Highway 141.
“It’s too close to my property,” Villeneuve said. ”If I were to build a house out here, I would have to build so many meters back from the lot line, but when Seguin goes ahead with a development, those rules go out the window.”
In the long run, Villeneuve worries Seguin Place may devalue the worth of his property and alter the flow of his well water, polluting it as a result. “We’re all a little leery about what’s happening behind us,” Villeneuve said of his neighbors’ shared concerns.
He sighs with frustration, but admits that developers have been upright and compliant with his requests.
“I really can’t say anything about them, other than the fact that I wish they would have chosen a different spot,” Villeneueve says.
“Hopefully everything just works out.”