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.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Safe consumption site proposal draws big crowd to city council

More than 100 people turned out to speak for and against proposed safe consumption site

Red Deer council sets police review goals

Review will look at alternatives to RCMP-led police force and their effectiveness

Three-year deal ratified for Red Deer CUPE workers

CUPE workers to get four per cent over three years

A Red Deer single mom with MS goes to Disney World with autistic son thanks to Make-A-Wish

The first vacation for the Red Deer family brings spark back to life

UPDATED: Jury selection underway for Red Deer murder trial

Trial looking at a 2015 stabbing death outside the Village Mall

Updated: Red Deer RCMP introduce downtown policing unit

A four-member downtown Red Deer RCMP unit hit the beat on Thursday… Continue reading

Calgarians vote ‘no’ on 2026 Olympic bid in non-binding plebiscite

CALGARY — The results are in, and a majority of Calgarians are… Continue reading

Leon Draisaitl scores and adds two assists to power Oilers past Canadiens 6-2

EDMONTON — Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists and Connor… Continue reading

McGill students vote overwhelmingly for change to Redmen team nickname

MONTREAL — Students at McGill University have voted by a large majority… Continue reading

Mira Sorvino urges #MeToo to do more than ‘name and shame’

NEW YORK — Mira Sorvino believes the key to eradicating sexual misconduct… Continue reading

Stan Lee hoped to make Canadian-set series about Indigenous cop, says producer

TORONTO — Stan Lee struggled in his final years to get broadcasters… Continue reading

Holding out slim hope as crews search for more fire dead

PARADISE, Calif. — More than a dozen coroner search and recovery teams… Continue reading

Comic book genius Stan Lee, Spider-Man creator, dies at 95

LOS ANGELES — Stan Lee, the creative dynamo who revolutionized the comic… Continue reading

Canada intelligence officials have heard audio of Khashoggi murder, Trudeau says

PARIS — Justin Trudeau says Canadian intelligence officials have listened to a… Continue reading

Most Read