Seniors housing gets boost

Seniors in Innisfail will soon have more affordable housing options.

INNISFAIL — Seniors in Innisfail will soon have more affordable housing options.

The town is getting a new 60-unit seniors lodge and a seniors apartment with at least 30 self-contained suites, thanks to $17.6 million in funding from the federal and Alberta governments.

The affordable housing projects will replace the 62-unit Autumn Glen Lodge, at 4045 50th Ave., and the neighbouring Poplar Glen Court with 16 self-contained suites.

Replacing Autumn Glen has been a priority for Parkland Foundation. Some residents living at the 55-year-old lodge don’t even have their own washrooms.

“The lodge has been a great home for residents but like many buildings of its age, it doesn’t meet the needs of our seniors today,” said Connie Huelsman, board chair of Parkland Foundation and Red Deer County deputy mayor, during the funding announcement at Autumn Glen on Friday.

The existing lodge and apartment facilities will be demolished once the new units are ready for occupancy.

Construction is expected to be completed by early 2018. Facilities will be operated by a partnership of Parkland Foundation and Bethany Group.

“We want to start right away. We were shovel ready when we submitted our business plan,” Huelsman said.

The province and federal governments each contributed $8.8 million.

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Kerry Towle said Alberta has an infrastructure deficit and is trying to deal with it.

“We have said for a long time that our facilities and our lodges need renewal and if we didn’t head down this path then seniors would be forced to leave our communities. I think this is a clear commitment to seniors in our province,” said Towle.

Federal funding is coming from the Investment in Affordable Housing program, which the federal government has renewed to 2019, said Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen.

“The governments of Canada and Alberta have signed an agreement that provides for a joint investment of some $202 million over this period to help more individuals and families in need access affordable housing. The replacement of Autumn Glen Lodge is one of many projects that will be funded under this agreement,” Dreeshen said.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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