Land deal clears way for nursing home expansion


  • <p>SOURCE: GOOGLE MAPS</p><p>Hillside Pines Home for Special Care in Bridgewater is expanding to create an additional dining room.</p>

Bridgewater is selling 1,300-square-metres of land to Hillside Pines Home for Special Care so the nursing home can pursue construction of a third dining room at the facility.

The town-owned plot of less-than-a-hectare in size is located north of the provincially-licenced Exhibition Drive home, and behind the apartment complex with its view of pine trees.

Bridgewater earmarked most of the land-in-question for a future extension of Christie Street. In a written report to town council, development officer Nick Brown indicated the piece going to Hillside Pines would not significantly impact the future street connection.

Hillside Pines will buy the portion for $3,900 and cover the costs associated with the land transfer.

The 50-bed home, built in the early 1980s, recently secured $1.14 million in combined funding from other levels of government as part of a public spending spree aimed at refreshing healthcare and long-term care facilities. Nearly half of the amount is designated to help cover the cost of expanding the building to add a third dining room to the northeast end.

In written correspondence to the town, Hillside Pines officials said the 12-by-15-metre addition helps meet physical space standards established for long-term care. "During the pandemic, a shortage of proper dining space became very apparent," reads the submission from the home's environmental services director Cecil Haughn and administrator Marisa Eisner.

"The shortage of space is mostly affecting [an area] along the back of the building," they said, noting it is "the most logical location for this expansion ..."

Spaces in a nearly 40-year-old building can seem smaller when factoring in the number and size of modern mobility equipment. Add in public health restrictions, precautions and guidance linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, it means mealtime settings for residents get further complicated.

In a previous interview with LighthouseNOW, Eisner said efforts toward that safety and well-being of residents and staff is ongoing.

In the letter to the town, neither Eisner nor Haughn believed the expansion would "interfere with Christie Street" and "would not affect the existing drainage, electrical" or obstruct a service easement on the northern edge of the land.

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