A 90-unit assisted-living facility, to be built at the site of the demolished Red Deer Nursing Home, got the thumbs up from the city’s municipal planning commission.
The $28-million project will replace the oldest seniors’ home in Alberta — Red Deer’s Piper Creek Lodge — by 2021.
Residents of the 65-unit lodge will be moved to the new facility, plus there will be an additional 25 independent suites.
Mayor Tara Veer said the city is pleased the project is finally moving forward.
“We have advocated for many, many years before the government of Alberta to have vacant provincial sites repurposed for public good.
“The Red Deer Nursing Home site was originally announced under premier Prentice’s government, so it has been a substantial amount of time before that capital investment is becoming a reality in our community,” Veer said.
“We know there is a wait list for affordable housing in the community in general, and for seniors specifically.”
Both Red Deer Nursing Home and Valley Park Manor closed in 2010, when their residents moved into the newly constructed Michener Hill Village.
In 2011, it was reported that it cost $95,500 annually to maintain and secure Red Deer Nursing Home and $95,000 for Valley Park Manor.
Demolition of Red Deer Nursing Home began about five months ago, and the site is empty and ready for construction.
Veer said the city is also advocating for the government to move forward with its plans for Valley Park Manor.
“Sometimes, it takes a little bit of time in order to determine the future purpose for a site, but certainly a decade has not been acceptable for the people of Riverside Meadows, or the people of Red Deer in general,” Veer said.
The province contributed the $28 million to build the new three-storey facility at 4736 30th St.
Darren Young, chair of the non-profit Bridges Community Living (formerly called Piper Creek Foundation), which will operate the 90-unit facility, said currently, no one is on the waiting list for a lodge unit, but 56 people are waiting for independent living units.
“We’re terribly excited about it. We know that the community can use it,” Young said.
He said it usually takes three to five years to design, plan and build a facility, but a new process that allows trades to get involved in the planning means work will proceed with rapid speed.