Council votes to purchase former Fairfield Manor for affordable housing

Kingston City Council voted in favour of purchasing the former Fairfield Manor West site for a new affordable housing project at their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. Photo by Cris Vilela.

Kingston City Council has voted in favour to purchase the property at 805 Ridley Drive, the former site of the Fairfield Manor West retirement home.

The meeting opened in a somewhat unusual manner, as Council rose from a closed meeting in Committee of the Whole, and Mayor Bryan Paterson immediately addressed the (virtual) gallery.

“So, we were just meeting in Committee of the Whole – Closed Meeting. We discussed a couple of items with respect to an update on broadband, and also on affordable housing,” Paterson said before motioning to waive procedural rule and have the City Clerk report the motion to purchase the property.

With the motion to waive the procedural rule passed, Council was presented with a motion to approve the purchase of the building and property for a negotiated price of no more than $2,240,000, plus closing costs up to $50,000 ($2,290,000 all together).

The motion also asked that Council approve up to $2,290,000 for the acquisition of the property, which is to be used for affordable supportive housing, to be financed as follows:

  • $1,130,000 to come from the Social Services Relief Fund Phase 2
  • $1,160,000 to come from the Social Housing Reserve Fund

The Social Services Relief Fund is the result of over $2.6 million received from the provincial government in two phases this year. The motion before Council with regard to the purchase of 805 Ridley Drive also asked that Council direct staff to submit an application to the Federal Rapid Housing Funding for the project, and to “replenish various funds if the application is successful.”

Council voted on the motion, which passed by a vote of 12 to one, with Councillor Simon Chapelle voting against.

According to information published by Councillor Robert Kiley on social media, the Ridley Drive location will be used for supportive, affordable housing where “residents will receive the care they need in situ, and be a short walk away from major transportation routes and commercial activity.”

The City’s newest affordable housing project, this property stands in Kiley’s Trillium District, which he discussed in the post.

“I understand that this announcement might make some neighbours feel uncomfortable (though I have not heard from any constituents directly about this file as of writing),” Kiley wrote on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. “However, I am assured by the fact that the building will be run by a strong partner in the social services field vetted first by municipal staff.”

Kiley suggested that the site will likely be up and running in the next year. Kingstonist has arranged to speak with representatives of the City’s Housing and Social Services department early next week to provide an update on how this site will be used and operated.

The two Fairfield Manor sites in Kingston were eventually closed after being ordered closed by the Fire Marshall in September of 2018. There was much concern for the safety of the residents at the facilities at the time, and both sites were eventually listed for sale.

After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fairfield Manor West location was used by the City as a self-isolation centre for Kingston’s vulnerable population.

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