Study into improvements for Autumn Glen Lodge

Red Deer County councillors support a feasibility study on the future of Autumn Glen Lodge in Innisfail but would like to see the cost-sharing formula change.

Red Deer County councillors support a feasibility study on the future of Autumn Glen Lodge in Innisfail but would like to see the cost-sharing formula change.

Councillors agreed to support a feasibility study being done for the lodge during their meeting on Tuesday. The county will contribute $78,876 for the study, or 78 per cent of the total cost of $99,340.

The cost-sharing arrangement has been in place since 1959, when the county entered into an agreement with the Department of Public Welfare and the towns of Sylvan Lake and Innisfail, as well as Villages of Bowden, Delburne, Elnora and Penhold. The agreement was to establish and maintain of the lodge, which is a home for elderly residents of those municipalities.

The Autumn Glen Lodge is managed by Parkland Foundation and as part of the agreement, it can requisition funds from the municipalities to cover expenses. The requisition is in proportion to each municipality’s assessment.

Since the original agreement, Sylvan Lake has been removed. County legislative service manager Nancy Lougheed said the municipality was never really part of the agreement due to distance and lack of local residents at the facility.

As part of the agreement, Innisfail will pay $14,365, Penhold $3,080, Bowden $1,579, Delburne $1,122 and Elnora $318. Lougheed also said Innisfail’s contribution is not higher because the municipality has since added seniors housing in the community.

The feasibility study is being done to see if the lodge is sustainable in the future. The study would also define what upgrades need to be done to the aging facility.

The facility houses low-income seniors who either look after themselves or have a personal home care option. It has no medical staff. The 62 rooms were built in stages, with the first 32 erected in 1960, 10 in 1974 and 20 in 1984. The main complaint is that the rooms are outdated with little wheelchair accommodation and more than 40 rooms do not have a bath.

“I am very pleased to see this initiative take place,” said Councillor Don Nesbitt, who is also the county representative on the Parkland Foundation board. “It has served the community well for over 50 years but there needs to be some improvements for the people who reside there.”

There was some concern from other councillors over the cost-sharing agreement and that the assessment has changed based on population differences since 1959.

“The population was mostly in the county at that time and now we see that more of that population has moved to the bigger centres,” said Councillor George Gehrke. “I would like to see if the assessment would be different now and a cost-sharing agreement reflect that.”

Nesbitt said part of the facility may be salvaged and could possibly used for a kitchen and open area. Lougheed told councillors that if upgrades do go forward, the current cost-sharing agreement would be in effect.

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