INNISFAIL – A new seniors lodge and housing project announced almost four years ago is finally under construction.
The new Autumn Glen Lodge, with 60 lodge units and 30 self-contained apartments, will replace the 62-unit Autumn Glen Lodge, at 4045 50th Ave., and the neighbouring Poplar Glen Court, which has 16 self-contained suites.
“There is such a need for updated seniors housing. The lodge it’s replacing was built in 1957, one of the oldest lodges in the province. Seniors deserve to live in comfort in their declining years,” said Red Deer-South MLA Barb Miller, who made the announcement Wednesday on behalf of the government.
The project was announced by the previous Conservative government in March 2015 and construction was to be complete by early 2018.
Miller said construction was delayed because more consultation was required in the surrounding area.
“It was a project that took a while, but we got what was needed, where it was needed, and it’s going to be huge for the area. It’s much larger and I just think it’s great for the community,” Miller said.
In 2015, the provincial and federal governments each committed $8.8 million for what was going to be a $17.6-million project. Now, the province and federal government will each contribute $12.1 million to the $24.2-million project.
The facilities will be operated by a partnership of the Parkland Foundation and Bethany Group.
“It’s been a long time coming. We just never gave up on it. Our government has acknowledged it is a need in this area. For that, we thank both the governments of Canada and Alberta,” said Connie Huelsman, chair of the Parkland Foundation and a Red Deer County councillor.
She said lobbying efforts for seniors to be able to access a higher level of care at the facility will continue.
Construction began in September and it should be finished in 2020.
When Miller was asked if the province will be making an announcement soon about the expansion of Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, she said the business case is underway to determine exactly what needs to be done.
“We know the need is critical,” Miller said.
“Nothing can be announced about the Red Deer hospital until the business case is finished.”
Funding for the study was announced in the spring and it usually takes about a year to complete, she said.