Assisted living project could see big expansion

A 100-unit assisted living complex announced for Red Deer earlier this year is poised to grow larger.

A 100-unit assisted living complex announced for Red Deer earlier this year is poised to grow larger.

The city’s municipal planning commission on Tuesday approved a development permit for Covenant Health’s proposed facility in Clearview Ridge. That permit includes a second phase, which would boost the number of units to 144.

In April, the province pledged $10 million for the development of 100 assisted living beds in Red Deer. Kevin Cowan, a senior director with Covenant Health, told the commission that the second phase was added at the urging of Seniors and Community Supports Minister Mary Anne Jablonski.

He said Covenant Health anticipates that the additional units will be for regular assisted living residents, but this could change.

“It really depends on the needs of the city,” said Cowan, suggesting that the space might be earmarked for people with dementia or in need of palliative care.

Asked by MPC citizen representative Doug Janssen if the second phase might end up being used for long-term care, Cowan replied, “Absolutely.”

“It gives us some flexibility in terms of what goes in there.”

He said work on the 100-unit first phase will begin as soon as possible, likely when weather permits next spring. He later told reporters that construction will take about 18 months to complete.

Clearview Ridge is located west of 30th Avenue and south of 67th Street. The Covenant Health facility will be built adjacent to 30th Avenue and directly south of a proposed commercial centre.

The two-storey complex will consist of individual rooms, as well as common lounges, dining rooms, meeting rooms and nursing units. Seventy-six of the rooms in the first phase would be for regular assisted living care, said Cowan, including eight “couple’s suites.”

“What that allows is the husband and wife to stay together when one of the two require care,” he said, adding that elderly siblings or close friends might also occupy these units.

“It works brilliantly, because it keeps couples together and it allows the well individual to provide care.”

The remaining 24 rooms in Phase 1 would be situated in secure areas and designed for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other severe forms of dementia.

Cowan said he couldn’t provide an exact budget for the project, but the province previously placed the cost of a 100-unit assisted living complex at about $25 million.

Cowan said the province will cover approximately one-third of the building’s capital costs and pay Covenant Health for its operation on a contract basis.

He said there is a “fairly significant need” for assisted living space in Red Deer, and expressed satisfaction that his not-for-profit organization’s building will be in Clearview Ridge — which is in the early stages of development.

“It’s just a nice little neighbourhood that’s being developed and we’re happy to be there.”

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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