St. Catharines has seen a substantial amount of growth over the last little while, bringing a much-needed expansion of infrastructure. It began with the Niagara Health System Health-Care Complex at 980,000 square feet and a cost of $759 million. Next on the list was the extremely popular Meridian Centre, playing host to the Niagara IceDogs, Jerry Seinfeld, and the city’s own Dallas Green. The most recent addition would be the FirstOntario Performing Arts center, offering short films, orchestral performances and exciting concerts. Change is in motion.
As many people know, it’s always ‘out with the old, in with the new’. With the opening of the new hospital. there was no need to keep the Hotel Dieu operational. When the old hospital was shut down, the question of what to do with the 10 acre vacant space came to the forefront. Luckily, Seasons Retirement Communities had the answer. The company, who has done exciting things in the past, suggested a $145 million retirement community development and is hoping to begin construction this year.
The project will be fairly ambitious with a total of 560 retirement units across the site. This breaks down into a 140 unit senior care residence, 400 apartment units and 20 townhomes. This will allow a wide spectrum of capable residents, ranging from independent living to assisted living. The site will also see 100 full and part-time workers to assist with care.
Another hot ticket item as of late is the expansion of the Go Transit Service to accommodate the Niagara Region. With the new Niagara 2041 Growth Strategy, the prediction is 170,000 new residents and 80,000 new jobs by 2041. The problem we’re facing is that growth is not being achieved, we are not expanding like our neighboring cities. This is exactly why the Go Train expansion needs to be completed. Connecting the Niagara Region to the rest of the Golden Horseshoe would be pivotal in securing our goals. It would open us up to further economic investment and allow us a larger pool of potential home buyers. Ontario’s 2016 budget also highlighted bringing daily GO Train services to Niagara. The Ontario budget stated “The Province will continue working with regions, communities, and other levels of government, and private partners to design and select the next generation of infrastructure investments that will improve competitiveness of Ontario’s communities, enhance productivity, promote innovation and develop new economic opportunities.” This would be subject to agreement with freight rail partners, two-way, all day rail services on the Kitchener and Milton GO corridors, and extension of GO Rail service to Niagara and Bowmanville.
The Region has an exciting opportunity before it and Niagara is well on its way to achieving its potential as the perfect place to live, work, play, invest and retire!