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Construction of new Southbridge long-term care home is on hold

A state-of-the-art nursing home on Clavet Street will eventually replace the aging Lakehead Manor on Vickers Street
A sign on the parking lot of the former Port Arthur General Hospital is the only new development since Southbridge Care Homes announced plans for a state-of-the-art nursing home on Clavet Street in 2020 (TBnewswatch)

THUNDER BAY — A sign on a deteriorating, weed-infested parking lot remains the only indication that Southbridge Care Homes still intends to build a new long-term care home in Thunder Bay.

When the company first disclosed plans for the project in 2020, it said had already been tendered and that it had applied to the city for a building permit for the 160-bed facility on Clavet Street across from the former Port Arthur General Hospital site.

Southbridge initiallly said it hoped to break ground before the end of that year, but might have to delay that until the spring of 2021, with completion projected for 2022.

Last year, the company revealed a further postponement, saying its preparations had been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that it hoped to go to tender in the spring of 2023 "once the inflationary environment settles," and to start construction later in the year.

This week, a spokesperson told Dougall Media that Southbridge is unable to provide a definite construction date, and that it is currently focusing on redeveloping all the older homes in its portfolio.

The spokesperson said the company still intends to develop the Clavet Street site as a state-of-the art LTC home, and that it will provide updates to stakeholders about its plans.

The city's building services division received an application in August 2020 for a 3-storey 160-bed home and completed its reviews, but never issued a permit. 

In March 2022, it received a new application for a 6-storey 160-bed home and cancelled the previous application.

But at this point, no permit has been issued.

Whenever it is built, the new facility will replace the 131-bed Southbridge Lakehead LTC home on Vickers Street South.

The company said in 2020 that the staff in that aging building were already excited about the prospect of working in a modern nursing home, and that the families of the residents of Southbridge Lakehead were "just waiting to get into that new site" to see their loved ones living in a more comfortable environment.

With files from TBT News

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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