Elena Hogan / Northumberland News  Sep 24, 2011  

Colin Sanders/Glenn McLeod/Diane News/Nancy Brown/Keystone Community Supports Corporation. COBOURG — Keystone Community Supports Corporation co-chairman Colin Sanders (left), board members Glenn McLeod and Diane News, and Executive Director Nancy Brown break ground at 1270 Ashland Dr. where the very first Keystone House will be built. Once completed, it will provide a home to five intellectually challenged individuals in Northumberland County. Keystone House will provide residents with individualized support to live independently and allow them to remain in the community that is familiar to them. Elena Hogan / Northumberland News

COBOURG — Keystone Community Supports Corporation began the construction of its first Keystone House in Cobourg on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

An initiative developed in 2006 in response to a growing concern from parents of children with intellectual and physical challenges regarding their continued care into adulthood, the Keystone House is a pilot project that provides a home to intellectually challenged individuals.

Once complete, the 1270 Ashland Dr. home will provide five residents with individualized support to live independently and allow them to remain in the community that is familiar to them.

Advocacy for the project has been “amazing,” said Community Living Campbellford/Brighton and Keystone Community Supports Corporation Executive Director Nancy Brown. Support has come from the community, the Town and the Province to see the house come to fruition.

All the project’s capital funds were raised through the help of a committee of Cobourg community residents headed by Keystone fundraising chairman Bill Patchett.

On Monday, Sept. 19, Cobourg council authorized a 50 per cent reduction in both the building permit fees and development charges for the Keystone House build. Mayor Gil Brocanier was at the ground-breaking ceremony and said the Town and County recognized the need for homes like Keystone and were happy to see the project moving forward.

Also at the ceremony was MPP Lou Rinaldi who both Ms. Brown and Keystone co-chairman Colin Sanders said has been instrumental in moving the project forward. In August of this year, Mr. Rinaldi announced the Province would be contributing annual operational funding of $672,000 to the project.

“This project means everything to me,” said Glenn McLeod, Keystone board member and parent of a special needs adult child. “This has been a long time coming, we’ve been trying to help families and some of them are in very serious need of help.

“Some of the special needs children aren’t children anymore,” Mr. McLeod continued. “They’re adults and mom and dad are having a hard time looking after themselves let alone looking after an adult child. The need is phenomenal in Northumberland and in Ontario and the community has been fantastic raising the funds to make this pilot project possible.”