The Wheatland Lodge celebrated 60 years of service to seniors in the Strathmore and Wheatland County communities, July 12, with a barbeque to note the occasion.

The event was catered by the Lions Club, and according to Vickey Cook, chief administrative officer for the Strathmore Lodge, approximately 250 people were in attendance to celebrate. 

“We had a really good turnout. We escaped the big storm cloud, so that was great, and we had Chantelle de Jonge, our new MLA here,” said Cook. “We went with past, present, and future – that was our theme. What we did and what happened in the past, what is happening presently, and what we hope for in the future, being the next 60 years.”

The Wheatland Housing Management Body (WHMB) dates back to 1959, when the Wheatland Foundation Board was created to oversee the construction of the Wheatland Lodge, which remains to present day. 

Originally, the foundation saw the completion of a 32-room lodge in 1963, at which time staff were hired and residents were allowed to occupy the space. 

The lodge underwent an expansion in the 1970’s, increasing capacity from 32 rooms to 44. In 1993, the lodge was rebuilt, with rooms increasing again up to 55 in total.

Six years later in 1999, the WHMB completed a 40-room addition to the lodge, increasing the total to 95 rooms, boasting a new maximum capacity of 103 persons. 

At that time, a new supportive living program was also created for the lodge, allowing residents to receive personal care and medication assistance from trained personnel. 

Present day, the WHMB has 38 employees between fulltime, part-time and casual staff, as well as two summer students. A total of 95 residents currently occupies the Wheatland Lodge. 

Going forward, the WHMB aims to continue expanding the availability of living spaces geared towards housing local seniors. 

In 2020, the WHMB partnered with Berry Architecture to begin scouting and consultations regarding the potential whereabouts for a new seniors’ lodge.

It was reported that the partnership received what was described as “overwhelming support” from the local community to develop the new lodge on currently unoccupied land east of Kinsmen Lake. 

The people in support of this location think it is an ideal placement and considered senior friendly. The new development will offer convenient and easy access to much of Strathmore’s amenities downtown, as well as to Kinsmen Park.

The WHMB has since also partnered with the Wheatland and Area Hospice Society to offer and ensure end of life support for its members and residents.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 22, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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