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Owner plans to demolish Golden Years nursing home and build new facility

A recent request to demolish the Eagle Street nursing home to rebuild a modern facility has prompted the city to investigate designating the 100-year-old home it was built around
City staff is recommending a heritage designation for the 1924 home built by Frank Pattinson to save it from a plan to demolish the Golden Years nursing home at 704 Eagle Street.

Provincial pressure to upgrade older long-term care homes to meet modern accessibility and safety standards is behind a plan to demolish and rebuild the Golden Years Nursing and Assisted Living Centre on Eagle Street.

The city was made aware of that plan in March, prompting heritage planning staff to investigate the implications of the demolition, knowing the nearly-60 year old facility was built around the home of the former owner of the Pattinson Woollen Mill.

The city was contacted in March by WSP, the planning consultant working on behalf of peopleCare, the owners of Golden Years, to inquire about the process to apply for the demolition of all structures on the property, including the original home built by Frank Pattinson who took over the mill's operation from his dad, George, following his death in 1931.

Frank Pattinson's died in 1963, leading his wife to sell the home, which eventually became the new home of Golden Years. 

Several additions over the decades transformed it into the 88-bed nursing home that's there today.

The city says the plan is to build a new facility on the site that would meet 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 Fixing Long Term Care Act with a goal to create 30,000 new long-term care beds by 2028 and redevelop older beds to meet modern design standards.

At the time, the province said the new and upgraded beds will help reduce waitlists, ease hospital capacity pressures, and "ensure every resident can experience the best possible quality of life, supported by safe, high-quality care." 

Since March, however, no demolition permit has come forward and it's unclear if those plans are still in the works.

Attempts to get comment from the executive director of Golden Years and peopleCare were not immediately successful.

Despite not hearing anything recent about the plans, heritage planning staff want to move ahead in recommending the original 1924 red brick Pattinson house be designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Heritage planning staff say they "want to strike a balance between increasing long-term care beds in Cambridge with conserving its built cultural heritage assets" and is recommending demolition only be allowed on all additions dating back to the mid 1960s and later.

Key attributes prompting the designation include the home's connection to Frank and Jennie Pattinson, who had the house constructed in 1924, the connection to Kenneth and Beryl Langford, who purchased the property in 1963 and moved their Golden Years Nursing Home to the location, and for being one of Cambridge’s longest running licensed nursing homes.

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Doug Coxson

About the Author: Doug Coxson

Doug has been a reporter and editor for more than 25 years, working mainly in Waterloo region and Guelph.
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