Fort Erie residents get a glimpse of the Hospice Niagara project

Beth Dennahower speaks with Jessica Estabrooks, Hospice Niagara director of quality and risk management, at an open house the organization held Sept.  22 at the Fort Erie Public Library.Beth Dennahower speaks with Jessica Estabrooks, Hospice Niagara director of quality and risk management, at an open house the organization held Sept.  22 at the Fort Erie Public Library.

Beth Dennahower looked at renderings of a new 10-bed facility, to be built in Fort Erie by Hospice Niagara, and liked what she saw.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Dennahower said. “It will be a much-needed addition to the community.”

The $9.5-million project is expected to break ground next year and be ready in 2024. It is being built alongside the new Gilmour Lodge long-term-care home on the site of the old Town and Country Mall on Garrison Road. Hospice Niagara hosted an open house Sept. 22 at the Fort Erie Public Library to give residents a look at the new facility.

“Looking at the concept, it looks like a lot of careful thinking went into the design with regard to our region,” Dennahower said.

Alicia Merry, director of marketing, communications and fund development, said accommodations have been made in the design to consider the extreme weather events that can sometimes occur in Fort Erie.

“The weather can be so harsh,” Merry said. “We created two rooms where families can stay.”

The Fort Erie hospice is a part of a larger project being taken on to expand Hospice Niagara’s services. In addition to the Fort Erie facility, another 10-bed hospice is being built in Welland as part of the expansion. In total, the two new hospice facilities will cost $18.5 million.

Fundraising is ongoing, Merry said. “We are about 75 percent of the way to that with a lot of questions still out there,” she said.

The price tag is a far cry from when the Stabler Center was built back in 2007 for a cost of $3.8 million. “Things have changed over the years,” Merry said.

The Fort Erie hospice will be named for customs brokerage Willson International, which contributed $1.5 million to the campaign.

Fort Erie Tim Hortons locations are also chipping into the effort. Hospice Niagara is the beneficiary of the coffee chain’s annual Smile Cookie campaign.

More information can be found at hospiceniagara.ca/capital-campaign.

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