The president of the University of Moncton, Raymond Théberge, says partnering with the private company Shannex to build a ‘retirement complex’ is part of a strategy to create a cluster of health care research project in southeastern New Brunswick.
- University of Moncton getting 60 nursing home beds
Construction of a 60 bed nursing home is already underway, along with a retirement home, special care home and an apartment complex for seniors.
Théberge says the project will allow the university to build its research facilities.
“What it will afford the university… is through an academic agreement that we will have with Shannex to have classrooms and research facilities within the long-term care home to enhance our research capacity in the area of aging,” he said in an interview Wednesday on Information Morning Moncton.
Théberge explains Shannex is working with the provincial government to fund the $50 million complex, while the University of Moncton has entered into a long term lease for the property on its research and professional development campus.
“So it’s not only a commercial enterprise, it’s an academic enterprise and the revenues from this project will go towards funding research on aging in New Brunswick.”
Research chair to be recruited
Théberge says Shannex approached him with the idea of a francophone retirement complex and he quickly recognized it as a big opportunity.
“One of Universities de Moncton’s strategic objectives is to try to create a health cluster,” he said.
“We have the medical school and now we will have, it’s basically an academic nursing home… and we’re looking at other possibilities.”
Théberge says the retirement complex and the research that will go with it is a natural fit for the health cluster the University of Moncton, the Georges Dumont Hospital, the Moncton Hospital and the medical school are working together to build in southeastern New Brunswick.
“We can’t do everything so we have to specialize and find areas where we can have a niche.”
“We will be creating a research chair and we’ll be looking for proposals from the university community to see what aspects they want to look at,” Théberge said.
Recruiting top level researchers is a way to fund universities and Théberge says that is now what schools must do to attract the highest quality faculty and to have stable, long-term funding.
“Universities have to look for funding in as many places as possible because governments can’t fund everything anymore.”
The nursing home, retirement home, special care home and research facility is expected to open in Sept. 2017.
French language retirement complex
Théberge says the nursing home, which is funded by the provincial government, will be filled based on Department of Social Development policy.
A spokesperson for the department says operators of nursing homes chose their language of service based on demographics and needs in their communities.
Across the province, there are nursing homes that are designated as bilingual, French and English.
The Department of Social Development said in a statement Wednesday that there are 65 licensed nursing homes in New Brunswick. Four are bilingual, 18 are French and 43 are English.
“The Government of New Brunswick provides services in the language of choice to New Brunswickers, however, traditionally nursing homes have been built to serve the needs of their specific community,” the department said.
“In the case of the most recently announced nursing home in Moncton, demographic studies show that the Moncton area has a need for francophone long term care services. So, in this case, the language of service selected by the developer is French.”
Théberge says in the rest of the complex preference will be given to retirees of the University of Moncton, however there are not enough of them to fill the suites that will be available.
The lease with Shannex specifies that French will be language of work and that preference will be given to francophones in renting the units.
“The University becomes a leader in the preservation of the language rights of the Acadian and francophone population of New Brunswick,” Théberge said.
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