File photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff Valley Park Manor in riverside Meadows in Red Deer is currently standing empty. Red Deer Nursing Home near Bower Place is also vacant.

Fate of empty Red Deer nursing homes in question

Two vacant, derelict nursing homes in Red Deer have long awaited a new use.

No major announcement is forthcoming for the Red Deer Nursing Home near Bower Place Shopping Centre and the Valley Park Manor Nursing Home in Riverside Meadows.

However, Chara Goodings, a Alberta Seniors and Housing public affairs officer, said in an email that the ministry is currently “reviewing options for the Valley Park Manor and Red Deer Nursing Homes and anticipate project plans will be confirmed later this year.”

When they were open the Valley Park Manor had 116 beds and the Red Deer Nursing Home had 99 beds.

The seniors homes were closed in 2010, but the province has retained ownership of them since. Because they retained ownership, the province has footed the bill for power, security and basic maintenance. In 2014, the estimated annual cost to keep the two was $95,500 per building.

Since closing their doors, the nursing homes have cost the province roughly $1.3 million.

They were closed after Extendicare Michener Hill opened its doors. The larger facility has 220 long-term care beds and 60 assisted living spaces.

Alberta Health Services, who operated the buildings, determined in 2014 that the two homes were not worth upgrading or renovating to meet senior care standards.

This meant the buildings would then go to Alberta Infrastructure for repurposing or disposal, this gave other provincial departments a chance to see if they could use the buildings.

A recently released study from the University of Alberta, showed Alberta has the highest number of citizens per nursing bed in Canada. The study, What is the Right Number of Nursing Home Beds for Population Needs? An Indicator Development Project, showed there were 244.8 citizens per nursing home bed in Alberta. The next highest was New Brunswick with 241.3 citizens per nursing bed.

Neighbouring B.C. has 159.2 citizens per nursing bed while Saskatchewan has 116.1 citizens per nursing bed.

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