Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer believes provincial “red tape” is contributing to a former nursing home sitting empty in Riverside Meadows for a decade, drawing vagrants and illicit activity.
Valley Park Manor was permanently shut down by the province in 2010. Since then, Veer noted Albertan taxpayers have been paying $100,000 a year for the “mothballing” of this building.
When the facility was first closed, city officials thought the site would be redeveloped imminently. The Riverside Meadows Redevelopment Plan envisioned it becoming a seniors’ supportive living facility, a physical rehab centre, seniors’ lodge, children’s day care facility, school site, or even as a location for new duplexes or townhouses.
But Veer noted this former nursing home is still sitting empty after all these years, a magnet for squatters and crime.
Red Deer’s Planning Services Director Tara Lodewyk confirmed not one redevelopment proposal has yet come forward for this site.
Veer believes one reason for this is three different government departments would have to be dealt with: Alberta Infrastructure, Alberta Health and the department for seniors affairs are all responsible for the former nursing home.
Veer spoke to officials from the provincial department for red-tape reduction last week about the need to pare down the bureaucratic process and come to some resolution regarding the fate of this “derelict” building.
She wants the provincial government to either redevelop the facility — as is happening now with the former Red Deer nursing home site — or tear it down.
Taxpayers should not have to pay ongoing costs for an empty facility there’s no future for, said Veer, who also feels Red Deerians should not have to deal with the “social disorder” problems this building is causing. While a security guard patrols it, Veer heard it’s still being used for illicit purposes when the guard is not around.
She is waiting to hear back from the province.