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Non-profit hoping to develop 55+ apartment complex

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A local non-profit organization is hoping to move ahead with plans to build an 11-storey, 55-plus seniors housing complex in North Kildonan.


Architect Ray Won, representing Donwood Manor and its charitable foundation, presented plans for the project to members of the city’s East Kildonan-Transcona community committee at a Nov. 15 public meeting.


The Donwood group provides services to seniors across the city. The faith-based organization is run by eight Mennonite Brethren churches — Eastview, Elmwood, Fort Garry, McIvor, Westwood, North Kildonan, Portage Avenue, and River East — and currently manages 483 units across the city.


The proposed 180-unit senior complex would be located near the corner of Gateway and Springfield roads, just east of North Kildonan Mennonite Brethren Church.


"It’s a perfect fit...(although)there are always concerns when you’re looking at apartment living," said James Heinrichs, CEO of Donwood Manor.


"There’s definitely things we want to do to work together with the community to make something that is functional, and serves the seniors."


Debbie Wolfson, community resource co-ordinator for River East Council for Seniors, said more seniors apartments would be welcome in the area.


"I get a lot of calls from seniors living in the area who are looking for housing. There’s a huge demand," Wolfson said.


"I think there’s a real interest and a demand for housing for 55-plus."


Heinrichs said the demand for more seniors housing will continue to increase in the near future.


"I think it’s very tight, but it’s going to get considerably tighter in the next number of years," he said.


"One of our properties alone has 104 units, and we have a waiting list of 180 people. That wait list has been there for 10 years."


Susanne Vrsnik, who lives on Mahonee Drive, said she is concerned about the impact the proposed complex could have on her home and others in the immediate area.


"I don’t want to be against development, but the 11-storeys are still a problem for me," she said.


"It’s about making sure that we weren’t going to be facing a concrete jungle of apartment blocks in the future on that strip."


Community committee members asked civic administrators to conduct a further review of the Donwood application. It plans to review their findings at the committee’s Jan. 17 meeting at Bronx Park Community Centre.

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Twitter: @HeraldWPG

adrian.alleyne@canstarnews.com

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