Centennial Manor courtyard project proceeds

Plans for the proposed courtyard redevelopment project show a variety of amenities for Manor residents and their families to enjoy.

LITTLE CURRENT – Thanks to the generous donation of an anonymous family, a new courtyard for residents of Manitoulin Centennial Manor will be taking shape this spring. The Manor board gave the go-ahead for the design consultant to begin work on the detailed drawings that will be needed to begin construction of the project.

Jennifer Harvey, the landscape architect engaged by the Manor to design and oversee the creation of the new courtyard gathering place, gave a presentation to the Manor board’s October 21 meeting.

Board member Dan Osborne asked about any liability or insurance concerns that might arise with outside community members attending the courtyard. Ms. Harvey said that should not present any issue. “As long as it is designed and constructed on a level access,” she said. 

Mr. Osbourne said that he was pleased that more than just Manor residents would be able to gather, as community engagement with residents is important.

“That’s not happening right now,” noted board chair Patricia Macdonald, adding that she wasn’t sure if it had happened in the past. She asked about the increase in maintenance required.

Ms. Harvey noted that she was placing many hardy low-maintenance plants in the project. “I am designing it to be as low maintenance as I can,” she said, adding she is looking at long-blooming plants.

Asked about the timeline, Ms. Harvey said that she was hoping to get the go-ahead for the detailed plans at the board meeting.

The plans will now include an additional set of bathroom facilities, as it became apparent following a site visit by the architect that the current facilities are some distance from where the courtyard would be constructed.

Ms. Harvey said that she had hoped her contractor would be able to come with her to inspect the site, but circumstances prevented that from happening that day. She said she planned to return the next day to complete that portion of the project planning.

It was important to avoid structural changes to the Manor building itself, it was noted by Extendicare Senior Manager Keith Clement, as any of those kinds of changes would require a Ministry of Health signoff. “The sooner we have final designs to submit to our engineers, we will be able to look over them from a long-term care perspective,” he said. 

Ms. Harvey noted that because her engineer is still an intern, a Professional Engineer is required to stamp his plans.

She noted that “everything seems to be behind because of COVID” but she was confident of moving the project forward without too much delay.

Ballpark cost for the project, with funding by the anonymous donors, is set at $262,574 with a 10 percent contingency. The donors have indicated that they would be open to providing more, should it be necessary.

Ms. Harvey noted that she has already canvassed Manor residents as to what their needs and desires from the project would be. “It was nice to get everyone involved,” she said. “It was very interesting.”