Questions over what will happen to Michener Centre and its residents when it closes were a hot topic during question period in the Alberta legislature on Wednesday.
Calgary-Shaw Wildrose MLA Jeff Wilson questioned Infrastructure Minister Wayne Drysdale about the estimated value of the hundreds of acres of prime real estate in Red Deer, and what the plans are for the site once the facility closes.
Drysdale replied the policy is that when another government agency is no longer requiring property or buildings, it’s turned over to Infrastructure for disposal.
“That hasn’t been done yet, so until Infrastructure has it turned over to them from the other department, we won’t be dealing with it until it’s ours.”
Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski mentioned that some of the 125 residents are medically fragile and have lived there all their lives, some for over 50 years.
“They are happy and they are thriving,” said Jablonski.
She wondered where they’d be able to find safe and suitable homes with specially trained caregivers for 125 persons with developmental disabilities.
“I’m informed that there are suitable homes,” said Frank Oberle, associate minister of Services for Persons with Disabilities. “Obviously, we have to work with AHS, with service providers.”
Jablonski wondered whether the specially designed Marwayne dental clinic would remain open. It has space for wheelchairs and other disability equipment and specially designed dental chairs and equipment.
Oberle replied that his immediate concern is the development of care plans and the transition of residents. He said they will look at the future of Michener’s dental services and other services there, such as physical therapy and nursing, alongside the needs of the individuals who remain. That planning is underway right now, Oberle said.