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

Sylvan Lake council adopts waterfront plan

Sustainable Waterfront Area Redevelopment Plan to guide development for next 20 years

Two people die in Rocky-area collision

Rocky Mountain House RCMP investigate

RDC launches week of activities focusing on student mental health

Learners invited to join the discussion at #MakeSomeTimeRDC

Husky Energy walks away from its hostile takeover bid for MEG Energy

CALGARY — Husky Energy Inc. is walking away from its hostile takeover… Continue reading

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Body of Canadian miner found after African kidnapping

Kirk Woodman’s body was discovered 100 kilometres from the site where he worked for Progress Mineral Mining Company in Burkina Faso

Canada’s Conners on his way to full PGA Tour card with fast start to 2019 season

Corey Conners was working on his putting last Friday when fellow Canadian… Continue reading

Canada’s Milos Raonic, Denis Shapovalov advance at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canada’s Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov have advanced to… Continue reading

Study finds more than half of food produced in Canada wasted

The study released Thursday is the world’s first to measure food waste using data from industry and other sources instead of estimates

AP Exclusive: A peek at how Disney resort shows are made

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — With excitement building over a new “Star… Continue reading

Justin Bieber’s ‘Steps to Stardom’ hometown exhibit makes plans for a book

STRATFORD, Ont. — Justin Bieber’s meteoric rise to pop stardom will be… Continue reading

Most Read