Michener Centre supporters march in Westerner Days parade

Just in case you forgot about the fight to keep Michener Centre going, there were a few dozen Michener marchers parading the streets of Red Deer on Wednesday.

Just in case you forgot about the fight to keep Michener Centre going, there were a few dozen Michener marchers parading the streets of Red Deer on Wednesday.

About 25 family members of residents, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees officials, and Michener staffers donned the blue shirts and carried the ‘Keep Michener Open’ signs that have become familiar in Red Deer over the last year as they participated in the Westerner Days parade.

It was far from the largest crowd those fighting for Michener have mustered in the last year, but Bill Lough, president of the Society of Parents and Friends of Michener Centre, said the fight remains in the group and recent pledges from government and opposition politicians have inspired optimism.

A large group of legal guardians, Lough said, will continue to resist efforts to transition their loved ones in anticipation of a new premier being chosen in September and a judicial review of the closure set for late November. Each of the three candidates in the Progressive Conservative leadership race have committed to meeting with the families and reviewing the closure decision.

Last month, the province responded to backlash around its decision to cut nursing care from Michener by reinstating the service. Other cuts to pharmacy services, a second-hand store operated by residents, and recreation programs have angered Michener families.

According to Alberta Human Services, 31 individuals have been moved out of Michener since last September. There has been no change to that number in the last month, though a spokesperson said more moves will occur soon.

Most of those ex-residents have been moved into group homes across the province. Some new homes have opened in the Red Deer area in 2014, and Human Services says construction is underway for 15 more accessible homes in the region.

The ministry also reports that, by the end of June, 162 Michener staff had requested a voluntary severance package, with 71 completed. The average severance package runs around $36,000, and staff can also apply for $2,000 in funding to support training opportunities after leaving.

Over 80 residents remain in the centre’s older institutional buildings that are to be shuttered.

The AUPE also is using the occasion of Westerner Days to show off its Alberta Way campaign, which it says is about getting Albertans to ask questions that the organization will then pose to provincial politicians. One of the union’s main issues is the Michener closure.


Just Posted

WATCH: Rappelling down Red Deer’s Stantec Building a thrilling, scary experience

Advocate reporter chronicles his trip down the 13-storey buildling

Red Deer raises $60,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation

27 brave residents rappell down Stantec Building

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

HMCS St. John’s to return to Halifax after six-month deployment overseas

HALIFAX — The countdown is on for the homecoming of a Halifax-class… Continue reading

Trump says lawyer taping him may be ‘illegal’

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — The Latest on President Donald Trump and his onetime… Continue reading

Spieth part of 3-way tie for British lead as Woods lurks

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Jordan Spieth has a share of the lead in… Continue reading

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month