Mike Leathwood, Bethany Group president and CEO, speaks to people at a seniors’ housing project meeting at the Blackfalds Community Centre in March. (File photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Mike Leathwood, Bethany Group president and CEO, speaks to people at a seniors’ housing project meeting at the Blackfalds Community Centre in March. (File photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Blackfalds gets residents’ input on senior housing project

Blackfalds residents had a chance to pitch ideas for the town’s future senior housing project Wednesday.

The town, along with Bethany Group and Berry Architecture, discussed the project with residents at an open house at Community Hall.

“The goal was to generate conversations with individuals about what amenities they would like to see around the site to help support the seniors who will eventually live there,” said Melodie Stol, Bethany Group stakeholder relations advisor and former Blackfalds mayor.

Stol said discussions centred around things like parking, unit design and what percentage of the building should be used for affordable housing.

“People had lots of good ideas and suggestions. People really put a lot of thought into what they’d like to see at the site, which I respected.

“We received generally positive responses and we had a few attendees who challenged some of our conceptions about the site. They really wanted to be good advocates for what they thought was the best use of the site,” she said.

Stol said it’s important to get input from potential future residents of the building.

“If you build something that doesn’t reflect their input you could potentially end up with vacancies because you didn’t build what people wanted or needed.

“Any community project is more successful when the community owns it,” she said. “This is a targeted project for a specific age group … and you want them to own that.”

Richard Poole, Blackfalds mayor, said about 40 people attended the open house.

“We were quite pleased with the entire meeting, the attendance and the reaction from the crowd,” he said.

Poole said the three groups are looking to build what will most likely be a 12-person complex on one property. He said another property, just south of the first property, could be used as well if demand is high for more housing.

“We’re excited about the potential of this project,” he said.

Berry Architecture will now take feedback from the open house, meet with the town and Bethany Group and present some ideas.

Those ideas will be presented to the public at another meeting at Community Hall Nov. 6 at 6 p.m.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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