A monumental day for Michener supporters

Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees are working on a plan to keep some buildings on the south side of Michener Centre open to residents, in addition to the centre’s group homes.

Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees are working on a plan to keep some buildings on the south side of Michener Centre open to residents, in addition to the centre’s group homes.

Now they just need the Redford government’s approval to keep buildings open.

In March, the province announced that 125 residents in buildings on the north and south sides will close and residents relocated. Fifty of them, who are medically fragile, are to be moved to seniors care facilities.

Of the 224 people still living at Michener, 104 will be supported in 23 Michener Services residential group homes.

As of October, 120 residents still need to move into community settings.

On Thursday, Jablonski presented a petition in the legislature to keep Michener Centre open with 15,744 signatures.

In the spring, opposition parties presented the petition with 8,500 signatures.

“You put that altogether — that’s 24,000 citizens in this province that want Michener to remain open. I don’t think the union is being unreasonable in the compromise that they have offered,” Jablonski said.

“There are some people that I think are better off staying at Michener because it’s been their home for over 40 years. They don’t know anything else. They get great care there, my constituents. So I’m standing up for them.”

Knowing some residents will decide to leave, the number of residents that could live in south side buildings is yet to be determined.

The majority of the buildings on the north side are older and those that need maintenance.

“We want to make sure all those who want to stay at Michener are able to,” said AUPE vice-president Jason Heistad, who represents Michener workers and was at the legislature for the presentation of the petition.

“I give Mary Anne Jablonski credit that she’s willing to keep the south side open and we’re willing to work with her.”

He said Thursday was a monumental day for Michener Centre supporters.

“We hope we have some traction with those petitions and working with Mary Anne,” Heistad said.

Jablonski said with the highly trained and experienced staff at Michener it would make sense to keep those with the highest needs, however there are also some families that insist their loved ones stay at Michener regardless of their condition.

She said the promise to keep Michener open to those who chose to remain there was made by former premier Ralph Klein. Both the residents and staff know at some point it is going to close.

The average age of residents at Michener is 60.

“It’s the timing right now, that is of concern. I always expected it would be closed when we had fewer people living at Michener.”

Jablonski said she has passed on the plan to keep the south side open to officials. But at this time, the province is standing by its decision to close down both the north and south sides, but keep the group homes open.

“There’s been a lot of pressure to close Michener. This is part of the response to best practices around the world. I know and I understand why our government has to make this decision. And I support that. It’s the timing.”

Jablonski said funding has been allocated to build new group homes for Michener residents who would move into the community. But then the flood happened in Calgary and Southern Alberta.

“A lot of our contractors are super busy so we can’t have things built as quickly as we want them to be built. We have to wait in line.”

That wait could provide an opportunity to delay the relocation of 120 Michener residents, she said.

“I’m not expecting any announcements, but you never know.”


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

Just Posted

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

Chopped Canada-winning chef Pete Sok is trying to focus on the future as he reopens Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge in the Holiday Inn on Gasoline Alley during the pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer’s celebrity chef looks past the pandemic with new restaurant opportunity

Pete Sok is reopening Boulevard Restaurant — and betting on the future

The Red Deer Rebels hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first game of the shortened 2020-21 season on Friday. The two teams faced off again in Medicine Hat Saturday (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels fall to Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday

Tigers 7 Rebels 2 The Red Deer Rebels have lost two straight… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Most Read