Cost and time deadlines will prevent elevators from being built in public housing for seniors.
Yesterday at a community services committee meeting several MLAs made a plea for more elevators for the province’s 8,500 seniors who live in public housing. The province and federal government are currently investing $128 million in public housing and many seniors live in multi-storey buildings.
“For these people it’s probably one of the most important things that they can have,” said Cape Breton West MLA Alfie MacLeod.
“Once they feel like they’re trapped in their second-floor apartment they stop going out to social events, and then they start having more health needs.”
But only three elevators are being built — one each in Margaree, Shelburne and Great Village. Staff said elevators are often expensive and can take more than two years to build, disqualifying them from federal infrastructure money.
“Elevators have become very expensive, and we really ran the risk of not being able to do them within the time-frame that we had the money,” said deputy Community Services minister Judith Ferguson.
Ferguson said the department decided it would get better dollar value by trying to relocate affected seniors in ground-floor units.
Argyle MLA Chris d’Entremont had previously fought for and won an elevator in his riding. He recalls the experience as “painful.”