Regional pressure to upgrade aging long-term care homes to meet modern access and safety standards is behind the plan to demolish and rebuild the Golden Years Nursing and Assisted Living Center on Eagle Street.
The owner notified the city of that plan in March, prompting heritage planning staff to investigate the implications of demolition, knowing that the nearly 60-year-old facility was built around the home of the former owner of the Pattinson Woolen Mill.
The city was contacted in March by WSP, a planning consultant acting on behalf of PeopleCare, owners of Golden Years, to inquire about the application process to demolish all of the buildings on the property, including the original house built by Frank Pattinson, who took over the mill from his father, George. After his death in 1931.
Frank Pattinson died in 1963, prompting his wife to sell the house, which eventually became the new home of the Golden Years.
Numerous additions over the decades transformed it into the 88-bed nursing home it exists today.
The city says the plan is to build a new facility on the site that meets current building code requirements for mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walkers and newer hospital beds.
The move comes a year after the province launched the Long-Term Care Reform Act with the goal of creating 30,000 new long-term care beds by 2028 and redeveloping older beds to meet modern design standards.
At the time, the province said the new and upgraded beds would help reduce wait lists, ease pressures on hospital capacity, and “ensure that every resident can enjoy the best quality of life possible, supported by safe, high-quality care.”
However, since March, no demolition permit has been submitted, and it is not clear whether these plans are still in progress.
Attempts to get comment from the CEO of Golden Years and peopleCare were not immediately successful.
Although nothing has been heard recently about the plans, heritage planning staff want to move forward with recommending that the original 1924 red brick Pattinson House be classified under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.
Heritage planning staff say they “want to balance increasing long-term care beds in Cambridge while preserving built cultural heritage assets” and recommend allowing demolition only on all additions dating from the mid-1960s onwards.
Key features that prompted the naming include the house’s connection to Frank and Jenny Pattinson, who built the house in 1924, the connection to Kenneth and Beryl Langford, who purchased the property in 1963 and moved their Golden Years nursing home to the site, and it being one of the longest-running nursing homes Licensed in Cambridge.