Ground Breaking for New Seniors Facility in Thunder Bay

December 14, 2009, 1:45 PM EST

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After a determined campaign by CAW members, leadership and activists a ground breaking ceremony was finally held in Thunder Bay, Ontario for The Centre of Excellence for Integrated Seniors' Services.

Union, city and provincial officials were on hand for the December 4 ground breaking for the $56 million project, which will feature 336 long term beds and 132 supportive housing units for seniors. The new site will accommodate seniors who need minimal and maximum care.

The new building will replace two older facilities - Dawson Court and Grandview Lodge.

CAW national representative Andy Savela said the project means not only the maintenance of 400 jobs, but also likely another 100 more jobs to help with supportive living units. CAW Local 229 represents workers at the homes.

"We've got a shovel in the ground and everything is moving ahead," said Savela. The CAW has campaigned for almost five years to ensure improved facilities for seniors in Thunder Bay were built and properly funded. Construction of the new facility is expected to be complete by 2012.

"The CAW has done a tremendous amount of work to ensure these jobs are maintained in Thunder Bay," said Local 229 President Barb Maki. "We've worked with the Ministry of Health, the LHINs (the Local Health Integration Networks) and the employer - the St. Joseph's Care Group."

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