The Town of Blackfalds is looking into expanding affordable seniors’ housing. Currently it has four units. Photo supplied

Mayor says there’s a growing seniors population

Between a growing seniors population, a recent land acquisition and potential for grants from the province, Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol says the town is ready to look at seniors affordable housing.

Blackfalds has four seniors affordable housing units and they are full. Three people are waiting to get into the units.

Council passed a motion to direct administration to find more information on a seniors affordable housing model for Blackfalds on Tuesday. Administration will work with the partner agencies — Lacombe Foundation and Bethany Group — to determine the type of seniors’ housing is in most demand and what would be the best fit for the town.

Stol said it’s too early to say what type of housing the town will look at – a lodge or an independent living facility.

The report findings are expected to be back at council by the end of the year. The next council will decide the next steps.

According to the 2017 municipal census, there are 320 people over the age of 65 in Blackfalds.

“It’s been a young community for a very long time but now we are seeing grandparents coming to Blackfalds wanting to live close to their grandchildren,” said Stol.

The provincial government came out with an affordable seniors housing strategy in June and has budgeted $1.2 billion for seniors housing in the next five years.

Stol said the strategy provides guidance and a starting point for municipalities.

The town would consider options that will allow them to accommodate seniors in various income brackets.

The town acquired a piece of land this summer — just short of an acre in size. Stol said it’s a workable piece of land for affordable seniors housing.

The lot sits at the corner of Broadview Avenue and South Street and came with a price tag of $260,000.

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