Construction is ready to begin on 103-suite supportive-living project CollegeSide Gardens at Red Deer College.
The Bethany Care Society facility will have studio, one- and two-bedroom suites and will provide seniors and adults with disabilities with meals, utilities, laundry service, recreation and social programs so they can maintain their independence as long as possible.
Greer Black, president and CEO of the non-profit Bethany Care Society, expects the project will take 15 months to complete.
“We keep hearing the construction industry is hungry so we hope that helps out with the timing,” Black said at press conference on Friday where he accepted a cheque for $4.26 million from the province for the $17-million project.
The funding from Alberta Supportive Living Initiative was announced in March. Last fall, the project received a $3.75-million provincial grant.
Now with a total of $8 million from government, the project won’t have to be constructed in phases, Black said.
CollegeSide Gardens will be located beside Bethany CollegeSide, a long-term care facility that opened in 2004 in partnership with the former David Thompson Health Region to provide 24-hour care for 110 seniors.
Seniors and Community Supports Minister Mary Anne Jablonski said the proximity will mean that when a senior needs to go into long-term care, their spouse could still live nearby in the supportive living facility.
The province recognizes the growing need for seniors’ accommodations.
“Each month in Alberta alone, we have 2,000 new seniors. That’s not seniors moving in the province. It’s people in the province having birthdays,” said the Red Deer North MLA.
Black said the Red Deer College location is ideal for seniors.
“We’re close to the Arts Centre for people to participate in that. If people want to go and watch volleyball or basketball, or go over to Tim Hortons, or go over to use the library — all of those things are within pretty easy walking distance.”
Government funding is going towards the construction of studio suites at CollegeSide Gardens to make them more affordable. Studio suites will cost about $1,650 a month to rent. A one-bedroom suite will cost about $2,400 and a two-bedroom will be about $2,800.
Sam Denhaan, Central Alberta Council on Aging and Friends of Medicare spokesman, said most seniors can’t afford costly accommodations.
“We’re happy with the increased capacity. We just want to make sure it remains affordable.”