Work to start only a year after fire

One year after a fire destroyed Mountain Aire Lodge, street people now living and working at the Sundre area centre will begin construction next month on a new facility.

One year after a fire destroyed Mountain Aire Lodge, street people now living and working at the Sundre area centre will begin construction next month on a new facility.

Mountain Aire Lodge, run by Calgary’s Mustard Seed Ministry, is in its final preparations to build a centre that will meet present and future needs.

On July 21, 2008, a massive blaze consumed the main lodge where a restaurant, gas station, store and conference room were based. The loss of the lodge was a devastating blow for the clients who once worked there as part of their rehabilitation from addictions.

Arson was suspected.

Lodge executive director Jason Nixon said the ministry has since turned “the fire into a real opportunity.”

The nonprofit organization has taken on a larger project to see how Mountain Aire Lodge could develop over the next two decades.

A consultant was hired to review the entire property, nestled on the eastern slopes of the Rockies west of Sundre. It includes a 45-site campground and a 12-room motel.

Mountain Aire also manages eight provincial campgrounds, including one day-use site, in the area.

The consultant created a detailed plan that would see Mountain Aire Lodge employ up to 50 clients who were formerly homeless on Calgary city streets. Currently, the centre has 25 clients and five staff living and working on site. The clients, who are paid minimum wage, plus room and board, stay on average one year.

The plan spoke of more programming space for addictions and increasing campground space. It suggested a larger main lodge with a bigger restaurant and five housing units on the second floor.

As before, the lodge would also have a convenience store and administrative space. It would run about 5,200 square feet — about 2,000 square feet bigger than its predecessor. The price tag is about $2 million.

“A portion has already been raised, but we still have over a million dollars to go,” Nixon said. “We definitely have enough money to start phase one of the project, which is all the concrete work.”

The clients would help with building construction. The main lodge will have a rustic feel to it, similar to the historic lodge of the past.

The consultants’ plan also provided options to bring in more revenue — having chalets to attract more tourists, erecting a wood shop in which to build furniture.

Mountain Aire could also double its year-round campground to have 90 sites. To do so, it would seek to lease land from provincial Crown land, Nixon said.

“We would keep the motel because there is huge oil and gas activity, and forestry,” Nixon said. “We would never expand beyond what we need.”

Once capital projects are paid off, then any additional revenue would go back into operations. The intent though is not to make money but to help the clients get back on their feet, Nixon said.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

RDC cancels championship-winning golf program due to tight finances

Short season, small number of student golfers were also considerations

Fire investigators comb through industrial fire wreckage looking for answers

Industrial building in north Red Deer was completely gutted in Wednesday morning fire

Time for a central Albertan in cabinet, says chamber of commerce

Central Alberta had no cabinet ministers in last government

Trump Russia probe finally delivers some answers

WASHINGTON — After nearly two years of waiting, America is getting some… Continue reading

WATCH video of Innisfail resident creating the world’s biggest caricature

Watch as Innisfail resident Dean Foster creates the world’s biggest caricature of… Continue reading

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

PARIS — A “computer glitch” may have been behind the fast-spreading fire… Continue reading

Former journalist pleads guilty to robbing two banks in Medicine Hat

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A former journalist arrested almost two years ago… Continue reading

Austria fears for three top climbers missing in Banff National Park

BERLIN — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Friday his thoughts are with… Continue reading

As Vancouver fights over 4-20, Seattle’s Hempfest enjoys tolerance, some support

VANCOUVER — They both came from humble beginnings: small protests against marijuana… Continue reading

All eyes on the surging Greens as Prince Edward Island goes to the polls

After a brief provincial election campaign devoid of drama, voters on Prince… Continue reading

North Dakota company where 4 were slain seeks normalcy

MANDAN, N.D. — Camaraderie was so important for the “coffee club” at… Continue reading

Trump blasts ex-advisers who say he tried to stop Mueller

WASHINGTON — A day after celebrating the release of the Mueller report… Continue reading

Sanders claims she didn’t lie, despite Mueller finding

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s spokeswoman Sarah Sanders pushed back Friday against… Continue reading

Most Read