Lee Kvern visits with her sister Jody, 62, who has lived at Michener Centre for 43 years. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Lee Kvern visits with her sister Jody, 62, who has lived at Michener Centre for 43 years. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Camp for developmentally disabled in central Alberta loses provincial funding

Michener Centre guardians informed

A decision by the province to eliminate funding to a camp for developmentally disabled Albertans on Gull Lake has guardians of Michener Centre residents fearing service cuts won’t end there.

This week, a letter from Alberta Community and Social Services to Michener Centre families said, “The Government of Alberta has made the difficult decision to discontinue staffing and long-term funding supports for Camp L.G. Barnes.

“As Michener residents have aged and their health needs have changed, the numbers of camp visits have decreased. Over time, the camp has served more individuals from the community and surrounding area than from Michener Centre.

“With fewer Michener residents attending Camp L.G. Barnes, it no longer makes sense to provide staffing and funding for camp operations.”

Seventy per cent of campers are no longer from Michener Centre.

Camp L.G. Barnes’ buildings and land are owned by Parents and Friends of Michener Society. The province provides four staff and operating funds to the facility in partnership with the society.

Guardian Lee Kvern said her sister Jody, 62, who lives at Michener Centre, regularly visited the fully accessible camp, which has everything that people with severe disabilities need.

“Any kind of complex disability, they can accommodate out there. She can’t go to regular campsites. They need the campsite to be tailored to her and what she can handle in terms of people and noise,” Kvern said.

“There’s just so few options for people with disabilities who are disruptive in regular places. (Camp L.G. Barnes) is such a prize. It’s phenomenal.”

Alberta Community and Social Services said it is working with the society to discuss next steps to transition the camp’s operations over to them. It remains to be seen how the society will choose to proceed.

“Existing staff can better serve Michener residents in other roles and we will make every effort to redeploy these employees to equivalent front-line positions and follow the terms of the collective agreement,” the statement said.

In the summer, a specialized dental clinic for the disabled was shut down at Michener, forcing residents and other central Alberta patients to seek dental care in other cities.

Kvern said the province seems determined to eliminate all the services that make Michener a foremost facility in Alberta.

“They are throwing my sister into unfamiliar territory. She can’t deal with it. She doesn’t have the capacity to deal with people she doesn’t know,” said Kvern about Jody, who has the developmental capacity of a three-year-old child and has lived at Michener for 43 years.

Related:

Dental services for developmentally disabled shuttered in Red Deer

AUPE files labour board complaint for workers at Red Deer’s Michener Centre

The letter from Alberta Community and Social Services said, “the decision to discontinue funding L.G. Barnes at this time does not in any way signal the closure of Michener Services.”

In 2014, the province’s Progressive Conservative government reversed its decision to close Michener after families and the community challenged the pending closure.

Kvern said she believes the UCP government will not close Michener because former premier Jim Prentice promised not to, but they certainly want to.

Shutting Michener would eliminate the cost of unionized staff and government liability. The province is currently reviewing government-run group homes elsewhere in the province, similar to the Michener model.

“We’re nervous because they’re not listening to their guardians. We’re nervous if they go down, if they are privatized …” said Kvern.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

mental healthred deer city

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Red Deer jumps to 449 active COVID-19 cases on Sunday

1,516 new cases identified in Alberta

The QEII was closed Sunday morning due to a pole fire. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)
UPDATE: QEII near Red Deer reopens

The QEII has been reopened after being closed due to a pole… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Bashaw RCMP investigate fatal collision in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP are investigating after a fatal collision Saturday afternoon. Police were… Continue reading

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It's not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he'd been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

DELIA, Alta. — It’s not often police can report that a unicorn… Continue reading

Investigators from the Vancouver Police Department were in Chilliwack Saturday, collecting evidence connected to a double homicide. (file photo)
Police investigate shooting death of man outside downtown Vancouver restaurant

Vancouver police say one man was killed in what they believe was… Continue reading

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start registering people 18 years and older for COVID-19 vaccines

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government says it’s inviting people 18 years… Continue reading

San Jose's Tomas Hertl, center, celebrates with teammates Patrick Marleau, left, and Rudolfs Blacers, right, after Hertl scored a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild, Friday, April 16, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Patrick Marleau set to break Gordie Howe’s games record

For Patrick Marleau, the best part about Monday night when he is… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Half of U.S. adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

WASHINGTON — Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at… Continue reading

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Federal government to send health-care workers to Ontario, Trudeau says

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says federal departments and some Canadian… Continue reading

People cross a busy street in the shopping district of Flushing on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York. Access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is growing by the day. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kathy Willens
Despite COVID-19 vaccines, Americans in D.C. not feeling celebratory — or charitable

WASHINGTON — This might make Canadians jealous of their American cousins for… Continue reading

A man pays his respects at a roadside memorial in Portapique, N.S. on Thursday, April 23, 2021. RCMP say at least 22 people are dead after a man who at one point wore a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruiser, went on a murder rampage in Portapique and several other Nova Scotia communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Memorial service in Nova Scotia marks one year since mass shooting started

TRURO, N.S. — A memorial service is planned for today in central… Continue reading

In this April 23, 2016, photo, David Goethel sorts cod and haddock while fishing off the coast of New Hampshire. To Goethel, cod represents his identity, his ticket to middle class life, and his link to one the country's most historic industries, a fisherman who has caught New England's most recognized fish for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
‘It’s more than just a fish:’ Scientists worry cod will never come back in N.L.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The latest assessment of Atlantic cod stocks, whose… Continue reading

Most Read